The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the state government to grant permission to restart cockfighting stating it is a traditional sport that has been enjoyed by citizens of Maharashtra for ages.
The bench of Justices S B Shukre and G A Sanap said, “It is our common experience that cockfighting 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.”
“We have seen that such a sport is conducted only for the purpose of feeling the thrill of adrenaline, which is pumped…in gushes by our adrenal glands on seeing more and more violence taking place between the two fighting cocks,” observed the bench.
“The phenomenon works on the principle, more the violence, more is the blood spilling and more is the excitement generated by greater secretion of adrenaline, which is entirely contrary to the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.”
A petition requesting that directions be issued to the state government to restart cockfighting was filed by one Gajendra Chacharkar. Advocate A R Ingole, representing the petitioner, submitted before the bench 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.
Ingole further submitted that the notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on January 7, 2016, prohibiting certain animals to be exhibited or trained as performing animals does not include cocks.
Therefore, according to the petitioner, cockfighting is a permissible sport involving no cruelty to the participating birds if the procedural safeguards are taken.
However, the bench said it was not inclined to accept any of the points raised by the petitioner “simply because some sport, custom or tradition has been 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,” said the two-judge bench.
The bench added that “the argument that the cruelty involved in cockfighting can be lessened by adopting certain procedural safeguards flies in the face of the very concept of ‘fighting’ between two beings, especially when it is a ‘fighting’ between two beings with lower levels of consciousness”
“…lot of blood spilling and extreme violence are involved (in such fights). Therefore, no matter what procedural safeguards are adopted, the fight would by it’s very nature result in injuries leading to profuse bleeding and probable deaths,” observed the court.