The Supreme Court has refused to pass an interim order to stay Ordinance allowing kambala, the traditional buffalo slush track race in Karnataka.
However, the apex court will examine the Constitutional validity of the Ordinance. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-governmental organisation, had challenged the Ordinance.
Karnataka Assembly had passed an ordinance Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 in February 2017 to allow Kambal to circumvent ban imposed by Karnataka High Court. The ordinance had received Central Government (Ministry of Law and Justice) and Presidential assent. The Karnataka HC had stayed these traditional sports in view of Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu.
Kambala is traditional slush track buffalo race that is held annually in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area. Slushy/marshy paddy field track is used for Kambala. The sports season generally starts in November and lasts till March. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in two seprate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
In the traditional form of Kambala, buffalo racing was non-competitive and buffalo pairs ran one by one in paddy fields. Besides, there was also ritualistic approach as some agriculturists race their buffaloes as a means to thank god for protecting their animals from disease. But in recent times, Kambala has become an organised rural sport.