The Supreme Court Friday issued notices to the Centre and Karnataka government seeking their responses on a plea challenging the validity of a new state law allowing buffalo race, Kambala, in the state.
The Kambala race, held between November and March, involves a pair of buffaloes tied to a plough and anchored by one person. They are made to run in parallel muddy tracks in a competition in which the fastest team wins.
It is believed to be held to propitiate the gods for a good harvest, besides being a recreational sport for farmers.
Bullock cart races are held in parts of north Karnataka and in the coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has filed a petition in the apex court challenging the validity of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Second Amendment) Act 2017, which allowed Kambala and other races in the state.
The court, which issued notice on PETA's petition, tagged it with pending petition which has challenged similar state laws allowing use of bulls for 'Jallikattu' in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races in Maharashtra.
In its petition in Kambala matter, PETA has said the new amended law was contrary to the object and purpose of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 which mandates that animals must be protected from unnecessary suffering.
On February 2 this year, the apex court had referred the pleas related to 'Jallikattu' to a five-judge constitution bench which would decide if the bull-taming sport fell under cultural rights or perpetuated cruelty to animals.
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