Bullock cart race: SC to hear Tamil Nadu & Karnataka on Maharashtra's application


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday asked the Maharashtra government to serve a copy of its application, which has raised issues about the bullock-cart race, to states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, saying anything said by the court in the matter might ‘affect’ them.

The application filed by Maharashtra, which has urged the apex court to permit the state to conduct a bullock-cart race, came up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for Maharashtra along with advocate Sachin Patil, told the top court that the bullock cart race is carrying on in the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “We will have it next week. You give notice to the advocates for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka also” Anything said here may affect there, adversely or in favour, we don’t know,” the bench told Rohatgi.

The senior counsel told the bench that the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka are before the apex court in the pending matter and there is a reference made to the constitution bench as well.

“For the nature of the issue involved, it may be appropriate to hear the parties appearing in proceedings pending in this court pertaining to the state of Tamil Nadu and state of Karnataka in particular,” the bench said.

One of the advocates appearing in the matter said that the bullock cart race was banned in Maharashtra on the ground that it was cruelty to the animal. “What is cruel in other states would be cruel in Maharashtra also,” the bench observed. It asked the parties to file their response or written note in the matter before the next date of hearing.

The Maharashtra government has said that there is a prohibition on bullock cart race in the state as the Bombay High Court in its interim order had refused to lift the ban in 2017, while there is no stay on the concerned Acts of the other two states.

In February 2018, 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.

Jallikattu, also known ‘eruthazhuvuthal’, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.