IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th December, 2021 Science and Technology

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In News

  • The Supreme Court allowed Maharashtra to hold bullock cart races in the state till the pendency of the matter before the constitutional Bench of the apex court.
  • The races will be held in several parts of the state, especially Pune and the western Maharashtra region, where the 400-year-old tradition was prevalent.


Sequence of events

  • Bullock cart races were banned in Maharashtra after the Supreme Court declared that the race as violative of the provisions of the central act in 2014.
  • After the Tamil Nadu government enacted a law to regulate jallikattu (taming of the bull), there was a demand to revive bullock races in Maharashtra.
  • In April 2017, the Maharashtra assembly had passed a legislation for resumption of bullock cart races across the state.
  • The Bill titled ‘The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill’ was passed unanimously with the support of all parties.
  • The Bill regularised the bullock race.


Arguments against such games

  • In 2014, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, “over-shadows or overrides the so-called tradition and culture”.
  • The court drew upon Upanishadic wisdom and advised Parliament to “elevate rights of animals to that of constitutional rights so as to protect their dignity and honour”.
  • Documentation done by the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body under the Centre, and animal rights groups like PETA, that served as evidence that in many such animal games like Jallikattu animals were physically and mentally tortured.
  • Hundreds of people have lost their lives in the last two decades.


The case for culture and tradition

  • There exists tangible evidence to show that this battle between man and beast is a cultural representation.
  • The political economy of such games is about showcasing the quality of cattle, the breeding skills of cattle rearers, the centrality of cattle in an agrarian economy, and the power and pride they bring to farmers.
  • Such games are a cultural manifestation of this political economy.
  • As a tradition, it links an agrarian people to the elemental aspect of their vocation.


Final Words

  • There needs to be a comprehensive regulatory framework in place with zero implementation gaps to check treatment of animals and ensure safety of participants and spectators.