The Supreme Court questioned the Centre’s “contradictory” stands on bovines, asking how it could permit Jallikattu where bulls are subjected to rough treatment and used for entertainment when the Constitution has provisions to protect cows.
“On the one hand you want compassion towards cow on the other hand you want to use bull as a tool for entertainment for human being. If we go by constitutional principles of compassion, such a contradiction cannot be permitted. Even if you say that Jallikattu is a sport, it is not permissible. You better play computer games for entertainment,” said a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Nariman.
The court made these oral observations during the hearing of petitions filed by animal welfare organisations and activists challenging the Centre’s January 2016 notification that revived Jallikattu—a prominent bull-taming sport held in Tamil Nadu.
The notification, petitioners contended, was issued to override the SC’s 2014 verdict that declared Jallikattu illegal.
Tamil Nadu government counsel, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade said if marathon can be permitted then Jallikattu too should be allowed. “Are the so-called rights of animals higher than the rights of human beings?”
The bench rejected the comparison, saying, “In a marathon race, you participate on your own will, but in Jallikattu, bulls are forced to participate against their will as slaves were treated in 16th century.”
When the Centre’s counsel told the bench the premise for the 2014 verdict was not correct, Justice Misra shot back: “How can you allow bull to be a source of entertainment for human beings? Jallikattu is impermissible as it violates the provisions of the law (to protect animals) and the Constitution. In view of the cruelties inflicted, nothing of this nature is permissible.”
Justice Nariman intervened and said “By this notification, you (government) have removed the basis of the 2014 judgment banning Jallikattu.”
The January 7, 2016 notification permitted Jallikattu and bullock cart races by excluding bulls from the list of “performing animals” under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The animals mentioned in the list cannot be used for any performance or entertainment and by removing bull from this list, the Centre indirectly allowed Jallikattu.