The High Court at Hyderabad on Monday 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.
N.G. Jayasimha, member of the Animal Welfare Board of India who is also the Managing Director of Humane Society International/India, has welcomed the court order.
"We are delighted that the Hyderabad High Court has upheld the ban on cockfighting. Cockfighting is not only cruel to animals but also encourages gambling and child labour," he said in a statement.
"A practice that glorifies so many illegal activities should have no place in a civilised society," he added.
Gauri Maulekhi, the government affairs liaison officer for HSI/India, the implead petitioner in the case, hoped that the state governments would strictly implement the court orders and bring to book those organising the cockfights.