A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu, while hearing a special leave petition regarding legalizing cockfight games ordered that, "The petitioner is directed to implead Animal Welfare Board (AWB) as a party to the Special Leave Petition."
Senior Advocate Anand Grover appeared for AWB and submitted that earlier judgments of the Supreme Court have prohibited activities that are cruel to birds and animals and sought impleadment of AWB, a statutory body, in the petition. The Court also accepted this plea and ordered that AWB be added to the case.
The Special Leave Petition has been filed against an order passed by the Karnataka High Court through which it had declared a ban on traditional cockfight games during the Sankranti festival. The High Court in its order had also directed the Superintendent of Police to take action such activities.
However, this petition in the Apex Court reportedly claims, “In this festival season, all the family members who stay abroad gather at their hometowns for a period of five days. The cock fights are part of the tradition and culture, without which the festival loses its significance.” It also states, "These cocks are especially brought up in their family like sons, for cock fight in the villages during the course of the year and waits for this Sankranti festival which is held for five days."
The petition also highlights the economic benefits behind cock fighting; saying in the past 2 years, NRIs spent Rs. 600 crores to see cock fights whereas foreigners spent Rs. 634 crores.
The petition also states, “Further, the audience who visits (sic) the state during the Sankranti festival from across the globe, comes to see the special breed of cock fight and if the same is not continued then the Sankranti festival loses its significance."
The matter will now come up for hearing on Monday.
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