SC seeks state's response on plea against Kambala law

SC seeks state's response on plea against Kambala law

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the Karnataka government on a plea questioning validity of a state law granting sanctity to buffalo racing sport, ‘Kambala,’ organised in coastal districts.

A bench of presided over by Justice Madan B Lokur decided to tag the petition filed by NGO Peta, India along with a matter, pertaining to ‘Jallikattu’ of Tamil Nadu, already sent to a five-judge Constitution bench.

On February 2, the Supreme Court had referred to the Constitution bench to decide whether the Tamil Nadu’s 2017 law allowing ‘Jallikattu’ can be granted protection under the fundamental right of a group of citizens to conserve their culture.

The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta, admitted the petition by Peta, India for consideration before the larger bench. The court also sought a reply from the Union government and the Animal Welfare Board of India.

In its petition, Peta India challenged the validity of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Second Amendment) Act, 2017 which allowed ‘Kambala’ events and other buffalo races in the state.

The rights group contended that the new law violated the Central legislation - Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It also claimed the new provisions violated right to life guaranteed to animals under Article 21 and 51(1)(g) of the Constitution, which stated that the animals have to be treated with compassion and dignity.

“The new amended state law is contrary to the object and purpose of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – Parliament–enacted legislation mandating that animals be protected from unnecessary pain and suffering,” it contended.

In March this year, the top court allowed the NGO to withdraw its petition against an ordinance brought by the state government as it was lapsed. The petitioner had then claimed it had removed the very basis of the 2014 judgement by the apex court wherein ‘Jallikattu’ of Tamil Nadu, bullock-cart race of Maharashtra were declared illegal for violating the fundamental rights of animals.

The state had maintained that ‘Kambala,’ conducted in slushy field in coastal districts helped in regulating the metabolic activity including heat and temperature in the body of buffaloes. There was no cruelty to animals, it claimed.