Maharashtra will be allowed to hold bullock cart races until the constitutional bench gives a verdict on its validity, the Supreme Court has ruled.
Bullock cart races have a 400-year old tradition in Maharashtra. It is held across the state especially in Western region near Pune.
The decision comes in light of the amended provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the rules framed by Maharashtra.
The provisions allow bullock cart race in the state. It will continue until decision has been made by the constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.
The Maharashtra government had asked the Supreme Court to lift ban on bullock cart races as the same were held in other states such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Ban on bullock cart races
The Supreme Court had banned bullock cart races in the state as it was violative of the provisions of the central act in 2014.
The demand to revive bullock cart races started after Tamil Nadu made law to regulate jallikattu sport in the state.
Law for bullock cart races
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill was passed by Maharashtra assembly for resumption of bullock cart races across the state in 2017.
A restraining order was passed by Bombay High Court that prevented the Maharashtra government from giving permission for holding the race.
The court said that Bullocks were not anatomically designed to participate in races and it would be a cruelty if they were used as a performing animal.
The Supreme Court verdict
After Bombay High Court refused to lift the ban, the Maharashtra government set up a committee to study the running capacity of various breeds of bulls and bullocks in comparison to horses.
The study focused on physiological and biochemical changes during the running of the bulls, bullocks and horses.
The government challenged the 2017 high court verdict in apex court. It submitted report of the study to get permission for conducting races.