New Delhi, Nov 25, 2017 : The Supreme Court today agreed to wait and see if the President gave his assent to a law allowing Kambala -- an annual buffalo race traditionally held in coastal Karnataka - before deciding on a plea to put it on hold this year.
The petitioner was animal welfare group PETA, or People For Ethical Treatment of Animals, which had earlier approached the Karnataka High Court, alleging that Kambala involves cruelty to the animals.
After the high court agreed and banned the sport, the state government had passed an ordinance or executive order, to allow it from November this year to March. A bill was also passed by the state assembly to make the sport legal.
Today, the Karnataka government told the top court that the bill has been sent to the President for his assent. The central government has sought two weeks’ time to convey the President’s decision to the court.
In the last hearing, the court had questioned how the state could commit a "fraud on the Constitution" by using an executive order to allow "Kambala" in the state, when the bill passed by the legislature was returned by the President for reconsideration.
The bill was passed in February --- A month after neighbouring Tamil Nadu had passed a bill to allow Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport that had the activists up in arms.
The High Court ban on Kambala had led to mass outrage. The traditional folk sport -- in which buffaloes are raced along a muddy stretch, usually whipped by a man running with them - is held under the auspices of local landlords.