In a twist to the Jallikattu row, an advocate from Tamil Nadu moved the Supreme Court, complaining that the Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI) lawyer was not authorised to file the petition challenging the state government’s ordinance legalising the sport.
The application against the AWBI counsel claimed that the lawyer had no permission from the board to file the application. The petitioner, advocate GS Mani, said such a move amounted to contempt of court.
AWBI is a statutory advisory body, advising the government on animal-related issues. The board oversees animal welfare organisations (AWOs) by granting recognition to them if they meet its guidelines.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra, which allowed the filing of interim applications, said all matters pertaining to Jallikattu will be heard on January 31.
“… the above said application filed by the member of AWBI is not only maintainable but amounts 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,” read Mani’s plea.
AWBI counsel Anjali Sharma, however, denied the accusations. She said she had received proper authorisation from the secretary, who later took a U-turn and asked her to withdraw the fresh application. Sharma is an AWBI member and heads the legal team.
In a related development, the Centre filed a formal application informing the court about its decision to withdraw the January 2016 notification that exempted Jallikattu from the list of banned sporting events involving bovines. The executive order was seen as an attempt to override the 2014 SC verdict, which prohibited sporting events in which cows, bulls and bovines were used.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had early this week told the bench orally about the government’s intention. He said in the wake of the Tamil Nadu law, the notification had no meaning. The Centre’s formal application says the court should not render a judgment on the validity of the notification.