SC stays Centre's nod to Jallikattu, Kambala

SC stays Centre's nod to Jallikattu, Kambala

SC stays Centre's nod to Jallikattu, Kambala

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Centre’s January 7 notification allowing Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races elsewhere in thecountry, and Kambala in Karnataka.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana passed the interim order on a bunch of petitions filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, Peta and others against the Centre’s notification.

The petitioners claimed that the Ministry of Environment and Forest order under Section 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, was plainly violative of the law laid down by the apex court in 2014 case of “Animal Welfare Board of India Vs A Nagaraja and others.” The court agreed with their contention that though the Central government put certain conditions in the notification, the use of bulls in the given manner cannot be a matter of festivals in the 21st century.

‘Why Jallikattu?’
“Why a non-essential activity like bull racing or Jallikattu is needed in the first place,” the bench asked, while seeking response from the Union government, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and others within four weeks. It posted the matter for further hearing on March 15. Defending the notification, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the apex court has not completely prohibited the use of bulls in Jallikattu.

He claimed enough safeguards were provided in the notification to prevent any cruelty to the bulls. Rohatgi also claimed the festival is part of the culture and tradition wherein the bulls are tamed within a 15 metre enclosure “We should balance the large aspirations of the people. During Diwali, we burst crackers. Likewise, the festival happens during Pongal only,” said Rohatgi, adding, if the court desired, it may direct further control by directing supervision by senior officers.

He also submitted Jallikattu is not like the bull fight of Spain where the animal is killed.
Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior advocate L N Rao said there was no ground to stop the festival in vogue for more than 100 years. He said the 2014 apex court order was passed on a report citing injuries being inflicted on the bulls but the fresh notification has taken good care of it.

Appearing on behalf of the petitioners, senior advocate K K Venugopal said cruelty to animals is inconceivable. There is inherent cruelty to the bulls in it, he said. Other senior counsels like C A Sundaram, Anand Grover and Siddharth Luthra claimed the notification was contrary to the law.

The batch of petitions which was first listed before a bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur was posted to the bench led by Justice Misra on recusal of Justice R Banumathi, who is from Tamil Nadu.