New Delhi, Oct 09, 2018 : Mangaluru based Supreme Court judge Justice S Abdul Nazeer on Monday recused from hearing a petition filed by animal rights group, Peta India, challenging the validity of new Karnataka government law allowing buffalo racing sport, Kambala, in parts of the state.
A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Nazeer ordered for posting the matter before the Chief Justice of India for assigning the matter before a separate bench.
As soon as the petition came for hearing, Justice Nazeer said he had dealt with the matter during his stint as the judge at the Karnataka High Court, so he would not like to hear the matter. Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra represented the NGO before the court.
In its fresh petition, Peta India challenged the validity of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Second Amendment) Act, 2017 which allowed ’Kambala’ and other races in the state.
The rights group contended that the new law violated the Central legislation, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It also claimed the new provisions violated right to life guaranteed to animals under Article 21 and 51(1)(g) of the Constitution, which stated that the animals have to be treated with compassion and dignity.
In March this year the top court allowed the NGO to withdraw its petition against an ordinance brought by the state government as it was lapsed. The petitioner had then claimed it had removed the very basis of the 2014 judgement by the apex court wherein ’Jallikattu’ of Tamil Nadu, bullock-cart race of Maharashtra were declared illegal for violating the fundamental rights of animals.
The state had maintained that ’Kambala’ conducted in water and slushy field in coastal districts, helped in regulating the metabolic activity including heat and temperature in the body of the buffalo. There was no cruelty to animals, it claimed.
On February 2, the Supreme Court had referred to the five-judge Constitution bench to decide if the Tamil Nadu’s 2017 law allowing Jallikattu can be granted protection under the fundamental right of a group of citizens to conserve their culture.