Legal wranglings over the contentious Jallikattu issue has blown up into a controversy with supporters of the bull-taming sport telling the Supreme Court that the plea challenging the new Tamil Nadu legislation allowing it, has been filed on behalf of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) by “playing fraud on the court”.
Pro-Jallikattu advocates in their plea claimed that a “total fraud” has been played on the court by an advocate who filed the AWBI plea on January 25 “as there is no permission by the Animal Welfare Board to file such application”, which amounted to contempt of court.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra which allowed filing of interim applications said all matters pertaining to Jallikattu will be heard on January 31.
Amid this development, the Centre also filed a plea seeking to withdraw the January 6 notification allowing the bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi mentioned before the bench that the Centre has filed a plea seeking to withdraw the January 2016 notification.
Justice Misra said the appropriate bench, which has heard and reserved the verdict, will take up these matters.
The interim application filed by a pro-Jallikattu advocate said, “It is submitted that an interim application filed by an advocate and member of AWBI challenging Tamil Nadu Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Ordinance, 2017 (Tamil Nadu Ordinance 1 of 2017) to conduct of Jallikattu in the state of Tamil Nadu on behalf of AWBI is totally fraud played on court as there is no permission by the Animal Welfare Board to file such application”.
“Therefore, the above said application filed by the member of AWBI is not only maintainable but amount to contempt of court for playing fraud on court. Thus the said application may be rejected and person who played fraud on court may be punished on contempt,” the plea said.
The plea, filed by Advocate G S Mani who is appearing in-person, claimed that the ministry of environment and forest in 2011 included “bull” in the list as a performance animal “with the conspiracy of anti-national elements only to target and attack the Indian old tradition like Jallikattu.”
On January 25, the Animal Welfare Board of India and rights bodies had challenged the new Tamil Nadu legislation enacted to allow Jallikattu during Pongal festival.
Those challenging the bill, passed by the state assembly on January 23, were contending that it was against the mandate of the Supreme Court judgement which has held that the “sport is inherently cruel” towards animals and this real issue has not been addressed by the lawmakers.
The pleas were mentioned for urgent hearing before the apex court which had asked the Board and animal rights activists to file their applications.
In their applications, the animal rights group had said that the new law passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly to allow Jallikattu has over-reached the earlier verdict of apex court.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 piloted by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, was unanimously adopted on January 23 by a voice vote in the assembly after a brief debate.
Nearly 70 caveats have been filed in the Supreme Court seeking prior hearing if pleas challenging the new legislation allowing Jallikattu in the state come up for consideration. The caveats were filed a day after the AIADMK government moved the apex court seeking a prior hearing before any order is proposed to be passed in the matter.