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Bombay High Court division bench dismisses PIL seeking permission to re-start the traditional game of cock fighting

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The Bombay High Court has observed that simply because some sport, custom or tradition has been going on for ages, there cannot be a reason for the Court to allow the same.

The Nagpur Division Bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukrea and Justice G. A. Sanap dismissed a Public Interest Litigation filed seeking a direction to the State Government to grant permission to re-start the cock fighting on the ground that the cock fighting is a traditional sport, which is enjoyed by the citizens of the State of Maharashtra since ages.

It is submitted by the petitioner one Gajendra , that if the State Government is of the opinion that there is some element of cruelty involved, it can be taken care of by imposing certain conditions. It is further submitted that the notification issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change dated 7-1-2016 prohibiting the certain animals to be exhibited or trained as performing animals does not include the cocks. Therefore, according to the petitioner, this is a permissible sport involving no cruelty to the participating birds, if the procedural safeguards are taken.

The Court was not inclined to accept any of the points raised in the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner.

“Simply because some sport, custom or tradition is going on for ages, it cannot be a reason for the Court to allow the same. There are certain customs, traditions or sports played in the ancient past, which were really unhealthy, and that was the reason for enacting a legislation for doing away with those unhealthy sports, traditions or customs; for example, The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929”, the bench observed.

Further the Court observed that the argument that the cruelty involved in the cock fighting can be lessened by adopting certain procedural safeguards flies in the face of very concept of ‘fighting’ between two beings, especially when it is a ‘fighting’ between two beings with lower levels of consciousness, as in such fights lot of blood spilling and extreme violence are involved. Therefore, no matter what procedural safeguards are adopted, the fight would by its very nature result in injuries leading to profuse bleeding and probable deaths. In fact, it is our common experience that cock fighting is an extremely gory sport and it is not possible with any kind of human intervention to stop the fighting cocks from causing any serious injuries to each other.

The Court further said that such a sport is conducted only for the purpose of feeling the thrill of adrenalin rush, which is pumped in blood in gushes by our adrenal glands on seeing more and more violence taking place between the two fighting cocks. The phenomenon works on the principle, more the violence, more is the blood spilling and more is the excitement generated by greater secretion of adrenalin, which is entirely contrary to the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

Therefore, the Court do not think that this is a fit case for making any intervention by the High Court in exercise of its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

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