The Madras High Court in India issued a set of directions to be followed while conducting cockfights during the Pongal festival in the Tiruvallur district. This was done in response to a plea filed by a group of villagers to be granted permission to conduct cockfights as part of the Pongal celebrations.
Justice VM Velumani and Justice R Hemalatha issued the directives. The court ordered that the event be supervised by the police and doctors from the nearby Government Veterinary Hospital.
The court stated, “[During] the course of conducting a cockfight, there should not be any injury to be caused to the birds and that the birds should be intoxicated with any alcoholic substance. No knives should be tied around the legs of the birds, and there should not be knives with tips dipped in poisonous substances. The veterinary doctor shall ensure the same before the actual start of the event.”
Additionally, the court directed that the petitioners have to bear the expenses of police protection, as well as the costs of the veterinary doctor. The petitioners were also directed to donate a sum of IDR 30,000 to the Prashanti Old Age Welfare Home and to present the proof of donation before the authorities.
Organizers were also advised by the court to take precautionary measures to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Individuals engaging in gambling are also not allowed with respect to the events.
Only eligible birds are permitted to take part in the cockfights. Police have been directed to look into matters if any objections are raised. Moreover, the court also ordered that only owners of participating birds are allowed to enter the area, and spectators must stay in a designated area. In the event that any of the conditions are violated, the court has given the police liberty to proceed in accordance with the law.
Cockfighting is prohibited in India but the practice persists and is incredibly popular, particularly on the rural coast of Andhra Pradesh.