The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea to pass its verdict on the popular bull-taming sport Jallikattu before the harvest festival of Pongal on Saturday, sparking widespread protests across Tamil Nadu. Here are five reasons why the Supreme Court, which banned Jallikattu in 2014 on grounds of cruelty to animals, may find it hard to rule in favour of the traditional sport.
• Allowing events like Jallikattu or the bull race in Maharashtra violates provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act-1960, which prohibits the use of animals for entertainment or display.
• In 2014, the Supreme Court struck down the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act of 2009 – a state law that permitted the event – stating that it violates the national law. “Even bulls have rights against torture,” the court had said.
• The court upheld the 2011 order of the environment ministry, declaring sports involving animals such as Jallikattu illegal. The NDA government’s bid to rewrite the order through the introduction of inspections by designated officials and ensuring proper hygiene was struck down by the apex court in 2015.
• The court order was based on a report by the Animal Welfare Board of India, which found that bulls were bitten, stabbed and pulled by the tail during the taming sport. “Being dumb and helpless, they suffer in silence. We notice that the situation is the same in Maharashtra too,” the court said.
• After the apex court passed its order, several high courts also banned animal sacrifice and sports across the states. Allowing Jallikattu would have spurred other courts – from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Maharashtra – to allow cruelty to animals in the name of tradition.