he Supreme Court refused to grant Karnataka’s buffalo race — Kambala — an interim stay today.
A bench comprising AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, however, fixed March 12 for a final hearing on the plea by animal rights body PETA in the matter.
WHAT IS KAMBALA BUFFALO RACE?
Kambala is a traditional, annual buffalo race held in a region called ‘Tulu Nadu’ — that comprises of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi areas of Karnataka — primarily to appease the gods for a good harvest and for the entertainment of rural people.
The Kambala race involves a pair of buffaloes tied to a plough and anchored by one person. The race is between these buffaloes running in parallel muddy tracks where the fastest team wins. The event is usually held between November and March.
To conduct the event Kambala Committees are formed and in the recent years, the prizes for winners have changed from coconuts and bananas offered to the buffaloes used in the event to gold coins for the winner.
DECLINE OF INTERIM STAY
To let Kambala be organised, on January 28 last year, the Karnataka Cabinet amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Central Act 59 of 1960) meant to prevent animals being harmed.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra who appeared for PETA said the state ordinance allowing Kambala lapsed and that as of now the buffalo race has no legal sanction.
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), another animal rights body, had earlier approached the Supreme Court challenging the bill to legalise Kambala buffalo race.