MUMBAI: Despite the state legislature passing amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960) to allow bullock cart races in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday prohibited it till rules are formulated.
A division bench comprising chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice N M Jamdar came out with the ruling while hearing a PIL filed by Ajay Marathe, a Pune-based activist. Permission could not be granted for the races as rules have not been framed, said the court.
Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani informed the bench that the draft rules were ready and were uploaded on the government’s website to invite suggestions and objections from people concerned.
The bench directed the government to file its affidavit within two weeks in response to the petition.
The state legislature had passed amendments to the act and its application to the state of Maharashtra during its budget session in April. The step was taken as demands to revive bullock-cart races in Maharashtra gained momentum after Tamil Nadu enacted the law regulating Jallikattu.
The amendments, however, makes it clear that the organisers of ‘bailgada sharyat’, ‘chhakadi’ and ‘shankarpal’, would have to be approved by the respective district collectors.
The petitioner had contended that bullocks are ‘naturally’ not meant for such races unlike horses. Getting bullocks to race involves inflicting severe punishment on them, according to Ajay Marathe.