The Hyderabad High Court on Monday upheld the ban on cockfighting and directed both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to take steps to ensure that the restriction was not flouted during Sankranti festival in January. Noting the cruelty that the birds are subjected to, a division bench emphasised that the practice must be disallowed at all times and not just during the festival, reported IANS.

Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice A Shankar Narayana passed the order while hearing petitions filed by a number of animal rights groups, including the Humane Society International/India, Animal Welfare Board of India and People for Animals. They contended that organisers violated the Prevention of Cruelty to the Animals Act by holding these cockfights. They also produced the reports to prove the poor condition in which the roosters are kept, The New Indian Express reported.

The sport was banned in 2014 when the Andhra Pradesh government had moved the Hyderabad High Court against the practice. The court took up the matter again in 2015 after a state politician filed a Special Leave Petition challenging the earlier verdict.

Cases of several cockfights were recorded in both Andhra Pradesh and Talangana even after the ruling. In January 2016, the Andhra Pradesh government had submitted an affidavit in court on the measures to be taken to stop the practice.