The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to lift the ban on bullock cart races in Maharashtra for Diwali. “The very act of making the bull run would amount to cruelty. Can an amendment to the law change this fact?” the HC asked. Earlier, the HC had asked the Maharashtra government to frame rules to govern the bullock cart racing. HC refuses to lift bullock cart race ban in Maha for Diwali
Even as Maharashtra government decided to go ahead with notifying the rules for bullock cart racing in the state, Bombay High Court has extended the ban on the sport.
HC refuses to lift bullock cart race ban in Maha for Diwali
This means that there will be no bullock cart racing in Maharashtra this Diwali.
Every year post Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, bullock cart racing in great numbers are organised but Bombay High Court’s ban in the state will not grant the permission to do so this year.
Bullock cart racing has been a popular tradition in some parts of Maharashtra and is known as Bailgada Sharyat or Shankarpat in various parts of the state. However, this year after Bombay HC’s ban, many organisers will not be able to let the speed of the carts go wild.
MAHARASHTRA GOVT AND BOMBAY HIGH COURT
The Bombay High Court in August had asked the Maharashtra government to frame rules with the amendments in Maharashtra’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which would look over and govern the bullock cart racing.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Maharashtra Amendment) Act 2017, however, states clearly that the organisers of bullock cart racing would have to be approved by the respective district collectors.
However, now that the government has amended the rules and is about to notify it, chief justice Manjulla Chellur observed, “The very act of making a bullock run would amounts to cruelty. Can an amendment to the law change this fact?”
The Chief Justice said, “If Supreme Court says that bullocks are performing animals then let them say so. As of now we are bound by SC’s observation but bullocks are not performing animals and if they are put up for races, the animals go through pain and suffering.”
Bombay High Court is also hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Pune resident Ajay Marathe seeking a direction to stop the ‘traditional sport’.