The state government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that no cruelty or unnecessary pain was caused to buffaloes in the traditional sport 'Kambala,' permitted in the state under strict conditions, following the President's assent to an ordinance.
"There is no fear, discomfort, pain caused to the buffaloes as by their very nature, they are used to slush fields. It is the common knowledge of village folk that buffaloes love slush and water," the government said in its affidavit.
'Kambala,' conducted in water and slushy field in the coastal districts, helped in regulating the metabolic activity in the body of the buffaloes, it said.
Responding to a PIL filed by NGO People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), the government said the state legislature or parliament was empowered to enact a law on the subject as it is in the concurrent list. "The amendments effected by the ordinance to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, show that there is absolutely no infringement of any fundamental right whatsoever or infraction of any of the provisions of the Constitution," the government said in its 62-page affidavit.
It called Peta's PIL as "premature and misconceived," as both the Houses of the legislature would examine the ordinance in the current session. It will become law, once approved. The apex court will consider the PIL on Friday.
The government said the practice of 'Jallikattu' (bull race) in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart race in Maharashtra cannot be compared to Kambala as buffaloes were not subjected to fear, threat, distress and pain in the latter. It maintained that the apex court's judgement of 2014 banning those sports would not apply to Kambala.
"The government, while permitting Kambala, has taken all necessary precautions. Kambala is conducted in a slushy stadium. Unlike Jallikattu and bullock cart race, in Kambala, the buffaloes are not subjected to fear, threat and distress. The buffaloes are made to run only for 100 to 150 metres, that too in a conducive environment," it said.
The government said it had, on November 14, issued a notification imposing conditions for the safety and protection of buffaloes.
It also relied upon a three-member expert committee report of 2015, that said Kambala is a unique event encouraging the spirit of sports among youth in rural areas and helped in uniting people across caste, religion and class, besides conserving male buffaloes in their highest health and vigour.