Bombay High Court cracks the whip on bull races - Naresh Kadyan

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       IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
          ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

       PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (L) NO.28 OF 2012

Smt.Gargi Gogai                                          Petitioner
    versus
The State of Maharashtra and others                      Respondents


Mr.A.V.Anturkar, Sr.Advocate for petitioner.
Mr.G.W.Mattos, AGP for respondent nos.1 and 2.
Mr.R.V.Desai, Sr.Advocate with Ms.S.V.Bharucha for respondent nos.
3 and 4.


                         CORAM : MOHIT S. SHAH, C.J. AND
                                 RANJIT MORE, J.

                         DATE      : March 12, 2012

PC :


1.           Mr.Anturkar, learned senior advocate appearing for
petitioner seeks leave to place on record three photographs of the
bullock cart race recently held at Kupwad, District Sangli.


             Leave granted. Photographs are taken on record.


2.           Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith. By consent,
heard finally.




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3.            The petitioner prays to quash the corrigendum issued by
Government of Maharashtra in Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Dairy
and Fisheries Department, Mumbai dated September 12, 2011, to
Government Notification dated August 24, 2011 issued by the said
Department.


4.            Brief facts leading to this petition are as follows.


5.            In exercise of powers conferred by Section 22 of the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (`the said Act' for short),
Government of India has issued notification dated July 11, 2011
(Exhibit-B) specifying that following animals shall not be exhibited
or trained as performing animals viz :


      i)      Bears
      ii)     Monkeys
      iii)    Tigers
      iv)     Panthers
      v)      Lions
      i)      Bulls.


6.            Pursuant to the above notification of Government of
India the Government of Maharashtra issued notification dated
August 24, 2011 (Exhibit-C) imposing ban on exhibition, training,
and public performance of the above animals.             This notification
further bans bullock cart races/ training/exhibitions/games relating to
bulls. The operative part of the said notification reads as under :-


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      "Accordingly, by this     notification a ban has been
      imposed on bullock         cart races/ games/training/
      exhibition in the State   in accordance with the above
      reference item No.(1)      Notification of the Central
      Government."

7.          In view of the above notification of the State
Government, a ban came to be imposed on the bullock cart
races/games/training/exhibition in relation to "Bulls" in the State of
Maharashtra. However, thereafter the Government of Maharashtra
by Notification dated September 12, 2011 (Exhibit-D) amended its
earlier notification dated August 24, 2011 in the following terms :


      "State Government Clarification :

      As per the State Government's Notification dated 24
      August 2011, a ban has been imposed on use of bullock
      for competitions, sport, training, exhibition.

      As per Notification dated 11 July 2011 of Govt. of India,
      a ban brought about is on use of `Saand' (Bulls) (Valu)
      in races, sport, training, exhibition and therefore the
      word `Bail' (bullock) in the Notification should be read
      as `Valu/Saand' (non-castrated bulls) ".

8.          The grievance in the present PIL is that when the Central
Government has already issued notification dated July 11, 2011
imposing ban on exhibition or their performance after training, insofar
as "Bulls" are concerned, there was no justification on the part of
Government of Maharashtra in confining that ban to "Valu/Saand" i.e.
"Non-Castrated Bulls". It is submitted that castrated bulls are also
bulls. The Central Government notification does not make micro

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distinction of "Bulls" as "castrated" and "non-castrated". Therefore,
the ban on bullock cart races/games/exhibition/training ought to be
applied to "Bulls", whether castrated or non-castrated.


9.           Mr.Anturkar,    learned    Sr.Advocate       appearing     for
petitioner invites our attention to the provisions of Section 11(1)(a) of
the said Act and submits that if any person beats, kicks, over-rides,
over-drives, over-loads, tortures or otherwise treats any animal so as
to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering or causes, or being the
owner permits, any animal to be so treated, shall be punishable with a
fine. The section also provides that in case of a second or subsequent
offence, the offender is also liable to be sentenced with imprisonment
for a period of three months or with fine and imprisonment both. It is,
therefore, submitted that any bull owner participating in bullock cart
race will be violating the provisions of the said Act. Therefore, the
State Government or its officers cannot grant any licence either under
the Bombay Police Act or any other Act for holding such bullock cart
races.   It is submitted that what is prohibited by the Central
Government under the said Act, cannot be permitted by the State
Government or its officers by using a notification/corrigendum.


10.          Mr.Mattos, learned AGP submits that all that the
Government Notification dated September 12, 2011 does is to clarify
that the ban imposed by the Government of Maharashtra vide
notification dated August 24, 2011 will apply to non-castrated bulls.
Therefore, there is no infirmity in the impugned notification. Learned
AGP also invites our attention to the provisions of Section 11(3)(a)


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which provides that nothing in this section shall apply to "the
castration or branding or noseroping of any animal in the prescribed
manner". It is, therefore, submitted that what is permitted by Section
11(3) of the said Act is imported into the impugned notification for
the purposes of clarification.


11.          We are afraid the argument of learned AGP is clearly
misconceived. Section 11(3)(a) only clarifies that the castration or
branding or noseroping of any animal in the prescribed manner would
not amount to cruelty to the animal for the purposes of making it an
offence, but that does not exclude operation of Section 11(1)(a) which
prohibits a person from beating, kicking, over-riding, over-driving,
over-loading, torturing or otherwise treating any animal so as to
subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering or causes, or being the
owner permits, any animal to be so treated. There can be no doubt
that the Central Government by notification dated July 11, 2011 has
banned exhibition of bulls or their training as performing animals
irrespective of any sub-classification. Hence, it is not open to the
State Government to make sub-classification of bulls into castrated
bulls and non-castrated bulls and to permit races of castrated bulls.
For the purposes of Section 11(1)(a) of the said Act, all bulls, whether
castrated or non-castrated, belong to the same category and it is not
open to Government of Maharashtra to permit castrated bulls to be
exhibited for bullock cart races.


12.          In view of the above discussion, the impugned
notification dated September 12, 2011 of Government of Maharashtra


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(Exhibit-D) is hereby quashed and set aside. The Government of
Maharashtra shall issue instructions to all its officers in the State
informing them about notification dated September 12, 2011 being
held to be unconstitutional and illegal.          The Government of
Maharashtra shall also accordingly issue instructions that use of
bullocks for bullock cart races/sport/training/exhibition in the State
of Maharashtra is banned and that this ban applies to all "Bulls"
without making distinction between "castrated bulls" and " non-
castrated bulls".


13.   Accordingly, Rule is made absolute in terms of prayer clauses
(A) and (B), relevant portions of which read as under :


      "(A) quashing and setting aside the corrigendum issued
      by the Respondent no.1 and Respondent No.2 bearing
      No.Pa.Vi.R-2011/ Pra.Kra.398/Pa.Du.M-3A, dated 12th
      September 2011 issued by Agricultural, Animal
      Husbandry,      Dairy     Development       and     Fishery
      Department, Government of Maharashtra, as illegal and
      bad in law;


      (B)    directing the Respondent No.1,2,3 and 4 to
      forthwith direct all the District Collectors, as well as the
      Superintendent of Police, through out, in the State of
      Maharashtra, to stop the Bullock Cart races, irrespective
      of whether the Bullocks/Bulls are castrated or not
      castrated."


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14.          Before parting with the matter, we are inclined to observe
that the amount of fine referred to in section 11(1)(a) of the said Act is
minuscule. The State of Maharashtra may consider making suitable
amendment for enhancing the amount of fine and also consider
whether imprisonment may also be provided for the first offence also.


15.          All parties to act on an ordinary copy of this order duly
authenticated by registry of this Court.




                                              (CHIEF JUSTICE)




                                             (RANJIT MORE, J.)




M.S.Thatte




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Description: Bull races would no more be held in the state as Bombay High Court plugged a loophole in the rules on Monday . A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice R V More set aside a state circular that had the effect of allowing non-castrated bulls to be used in races. The HC has directed the state to issue a circular to district collectors and superintendent of police across the state to stop such races. Bull races are popular in rural areas of the state, where competitions are held during festivals and fairs. Photographs were submitted to the HC showing the accidents that take place during the races, which harm the animals. In July last year, the Union ministry of environment and forest added bulls to the list of animals prohibited from being used in performances. The state in August 2011 affirmed the ban. However, in September 2011, the state issued a corrigendum and sought to create a distinction between bulls and bullocks , or castrated and non-castrated bulls. Kandivli-based animal rights activist Gargi Gogoi moved the HC challenging the state's corrigendum. According to activists, bullocks are malnourished and are whipped and beaten. Owners use cruel methods to keep the animals moving , including wedging barbed wire pieces beneath the harness and yanking the ropes that are jammed through the holes pierced in the bull's nostrils causing injuries. During the races, accidents are common as carts overturn on the bulls, grievously injuring the animals, the petitioner said. Assistant government pleader G W Mattos said that the state had issued the September 2011 circular only to clarify the term bull. The court, however , was not convinced and said that once the Union government had banned the races, the state could not seek to introduce a distinction between castrated and non-castrated bulls. The UN affiliated OIPA chapter in India Media Adviser Abhishek Kadyan along with Director of PFA Haryana Sukanya Kadyan welcome the decision.