Supreme Court approves Bullock Cart Race in Maharashtra

Tags: National News

Supreme Court has allowed the resumption of the traditional rural bull racing sport popular as ‘bailgada’, ‘sharyat’, ‘chakkadi’ and ‘shankar path’.

A 2-judge Supreme Court (SC) Bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice C.T.Ravikumar gave the nod to resume bullock cart races in Maharashtra that were prohibited since 2017, in response to an application filed by the Maharashtra government.

SC said the amended rules notified by the Maharashtra State under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 would apply to the conduct of the races until a final decision of SC’s constitutional bench on the 2018 Jallikattu case arrives.

Issues related to Animal Sport

-These are ancient sports and the symbol of the cultural pride of the state

- Legal provisions involved

  • In 2011, the Centre added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition is prohibited.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court banned the bull-taming sport, ruling on a petition filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that cited the 2011 notification. SC had favored the grant of constitutional status to rights of animals like citizens. 
  • It also needs to be seen, that, whether these traditions can be protected as a cultural right of the people of the states which is a fundamental right.
  • Article 29 (1) mandates that “any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”.
  • The sport is termed as the bull-taming and racing event and in a point of discussion is referred to violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The bulls may get injured during the sports which might lead to animal welfare issues.
  • Safeguarding the wildlife and forests, and being compassionate towards living creatures are important aspects of directives principles of state policy (DPSPs) enshrined in Article 48A of Indian Constitution.
  • Like Tamil Nadu’s Jallikattu, Karnataka too passed a law to save a similar sport, called Kambala. 
  • Except in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where bull-taming and racing continue to be organised, these sports remain banned in all other states including Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra(till date) due to the 2014 ban order from the Supreme Court.


Kambala is a traditional bull buffalo race that generally takes place in coastal Karnataka from November to March. 


  • A tradition over 2,000 years old (reference found in seals of Indus Valley Civilisation), Jallikattu is a competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull owners.
  • It is a violent sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.
  • It is popular in Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts of Tamil Nadu known as the Jallikattu belt.
  • It is celebrated in the second week of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal

Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)

  • Headquartered at Ballabhgarh in Haryana state, previously Chennai.
  • The AWBI is a statutory advisory body on Animal Welfare Laws and promotes animal welfare in the country. 
  • Established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (No. 59 of 1960)
  • The board was initially within the jurisdiction of the Government of India's Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, where it now resides

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

  • PETA headquartered in Virginia, USA, is the largest animal rights organization in the world.

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