Pune: Despite the Maharashtra Government being ready to notify the rules for bullock cart racing in the State, the Mumbai High Court on Wednesday decided to extend the ban on the sport. As a result, there will be no bullock cart racing in Maharashtra this season.
Reacting strongly to the HC decision, MLA of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a staunch supporter of bullock cart racing, Mahesh Landge said, "It is unfortunate that we have to approach the court for preserving our tradition. Although we respect the court order, I must say the five-star activist who doesn't know anything about animals and economy depend on this sport are being heard more than the farmers who rear these animals like their own children."
"If such things continue, farmers will have to abandon these animals on road, who will then take responsibility of these animals," asked Landge.
Every year, around Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, bullock cart racing in large numbers are organised in Maharashtra.
This has been a popular tradition in some districts of Maharashtra and is known as 'Bailgada Sharyat' or 'Shankarpat' in different parts of the State.
Mumbai High Court's decision
- The HC in August asked the Maharashtra government to frame rules with the amendments in Maharashtra's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which would monitor and govern the bullock cart racing.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2017, however, states clearly that the organisers of bullock cart racing would have to be approved by the respective district collectors.
- The Chief Justice said, "If Supreme Court says that bullocks are performing animals then let them say so. As of now, we are bound by SC's observation but bullocks are not performing animals and if they are put up for races, the animals go through pain and suffering."
- The HC is also hearing a PIL filed by a Pune resident Ajay Marathe seeking a direction to stop the 'traditional sport'.