However, the apex court stated that the roosters that were seized by the authorities should be released.

Cockfight ban in Andhra Telangana to stay as SC upholds High Court orderFile photo: PTI
news News Saturday, January 07, 2017 - 08:20

Upholding the Hyderabad High Court's order prohibiting cockfights, the Supreme Court refused to stay the ban on the sport on Friday.

However, the apex court stated that the roosters that were seized by the authorities should be released.

The SC also added that officials could still seize knives and other instruments which are used in the cockfights.

This comes a few days after Andhra Pradesh BJP leader K Raghu Ramakrishna Raju filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, which sought a stay on the Hyderabad High Court's ban order.

Raju argued that cockfights were a traditional sport and the HC order infringed on an individual's freedom to pursue a 'sport' of their choice. 

"In fact, the court ruling is unconstitutional and hence should be declared null and void," his counsel was quoted as saying.

Last month,  the Hyderabad High Court upheld the ban on cockfighting and directed the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to ensure no cockfights take place during the Sankranti festival.

The court extended the ban on cockfights on the whole and not just during the Sankranti festival in January.

The common High Court for both the Telugu states passed the orders on petitions filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, Humane Society International/India, People for Animals and other organisations.

The petitioners brought to the notice of the court that cockfighting was being conducted every year on Sankranti on January 14 in violation of the ban on the practice and despite court orders passed in the past.

The ban has been reiterated previously by the Bombay High Court, Madras High Court and the Supreme Court as well. Cockfighting is banned under the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, and the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974.

However, despite the ban, many places along the Andhra coast reportedly continue to host fights and even promote betting on the outcome.


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