Tamil Nadu

‘Amended Act allows conduct of rekla races too’

PIL petition was filed against conduct of rekla races on the ground that bulls were not anatomically designed for racing.   | Photo Credit: K_Ananthan

The State government on Tuesday contended before the Madras High Court that an amendment made by the State legislature to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, a Central enactment, in January would enable conduct of not only ‘jallikattu’ but also ‘rekla’ (bullock cart) races across the State.

Advocate General Vijay Narayan made the submission before a Division Bench of Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and K. Ravichandrabaabu during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed against conduct of rekla races in violation of a ban imposed by the Supreme Court on May 7, 2014 on the ground that bulls were not anatomically designed for racing.

It was through that judgement, the apex court held that the use of bulls in events such as jallikattu and bullock cart races amounted to subjecting the animals to cruelty as enunciated under the PCA Act.

In order to overcome the judgment, which led to large scale protests, the State legislature amended the Act and exempted jallikattu from its purview.

The PIL petitioner, Ramesh alias Video Ramesh, contended that the exemption would apply only to events such as jallikattu, manjuvirattu, vadamadu and erudhuvidumvizha and not to rekla race since the latter had not been specifically mentioned in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017.

Contesting the claim, the Advocate General pointed out that the term jallikattu had been defined by inserting Section 2 (dd) in the PCA Act through the 2017 amendment and such a definition was wide enough to include any event involving bulls and conducted with a view to follow tradition and culture.

After hearing both sides, the judges disposed of the PIL petition stating that the High Court could not issue a writ of mandamus directing the State government to implement an order passed by the Supreme Court.

If the petitioner was of the view that the Supreme Court’s orders were being violated, he must approach the apex court directly.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 4:43:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/amended-act-allows-conduct-of-rekla-races-too/article21558103.ece

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