Traditional Sports Current Affairs

Supreme Court refuses to ban Kambala

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.

Background

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

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.

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Karnataka passes Bill to allow Kambala and bullock-cart racing  

Karnataka Assembly has passed Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 to allow kambala, the traditional buffalo race and bullock-cart racing.

The bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala may refer the Bill to President for his assent as it amends central law.

What is the issue?

In November 2016, the Karnataka high court had banned the kambala along with bull-cart race in the state while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty. The high court had stayed these traditional sports in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu. 

About Kambala

  • Kambala is an annual traditional Buffalo Race (he-buffalo) held 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 separate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
  • In the traditional form of Kambala, buffalo racing is non-competitive and he-buffalo pairs run one by one in paddy fields.
  • There is also ritualistic approach as some agriculturists race their he-buffaloes for thanks giving to god for protecting their animals from diseases. But in recent times, Kambala has become an organised rural sport.

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