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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the Central Government’s notification against the training or exhibition of a bull as a performing animal through the sale of tickets.
A Division Bench of the High Court ruled: “We do not find any illegality in the notification dated July 11, 2011, by which restriction has been imposed by the Central Government on exhibition or training of a bull as a performing animal, which means any performance where public is admitted through the sale of tickets”.
Referring to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, the Bench clarified: “We are sanguine in our consideration that the restriction imposed under Section 22 of the Act would apply in respect of performing animal, who has been exhibited or trained for a public view through sale of tickets and not otherwise”.
At the same time, the Bench held that the notification was not applicable to sports festival at Kila Raipur.
Giving reasons, the Bench asserted: “The events were being held for public entertainment without any sale of ticket in which people from rural Punjab show their strength, endurance and skills in various events, including dog race and bullock cart race. Bullock cart is an integral part of rural India and is still a major means of transportation and bull/ox is regularly used for the purpose of ploughing and other subservient agriculture purposes.” The Bench said it has been observed that the bulls, which are being used for sports, are well looked after, well nourished and are not treated with any cruelty.
The ruling came on a bunch of petitions by Gauraksha Dal and other petitioners. They had challenged the 2011 notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The petitioners had also sought mandamus seeking direction to the State of Punjab to allow bullock cart race in the Rural Olympics, held every year in “as it did not amount to exhibition or training the bulls as performing animal”.
Before parting with the ruling, the Bench also quashed orders dated February 2 and February 10 against bullock cart racing in the games.