The Bombay High Court today restrained the Maharashtra government from granting permission for bullock cart races until the government frames rules to govern the same.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar said when the government has till date not framed rules, as envisaged in the amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it cannot grant permission.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Pune resident Ajay Marathe, bringing to the court’s notice a bullock cart race organised in his district tomorrow.
The petition sought the court to stay the race.
Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told the court that the draft rules were ready and have been uploaded on the government’s website for inviting suggestions and objections from persons concerned.
The bench directed the government to file its affidavit within two weeks in response to the petition.
The Maharashtra Assembly had in April this year passed a legislation for resumption of bullock cart races across the state, after Tamil Nadu enacted a law to regularise its rural sport Jallikattu.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill would regularise the bullock race, a popular sport in rural Maharashtra which had been banned in 2014 on the ground that it caused pain and suffering to bullocks.
State Animal Husbandry Minister Mahadev Jankar had then said the amendment was being made to the central act, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, in view of the vital role of the bullock cart race in preserving and promoting tradition and culture.
After the Tamil Nadu government enacted the law to regulate Jallikattu (taming of the bull), there was a demand to revive bullock races in Maharashtra.