The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a petition seeking an order on bull-taming sport Jallikattu before Pongal on January 14, making it difficult for Tamil Nadu to host the event during the harvest festival.
The bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi, said it was “unfair of the petitioners to seek an order” in this regard before Saturday, although a draft of the judgment has already been prepared. The court had reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging a central notification allowing the sport.
The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu on grounds of animal cruelty in 2014 – drawing protests from political parties across the state. In November last year, SC dismissed the state government’s plea for a review of its judgment.
The present verdict – likely to be pronounced next week – will concern the validity of a central notification dated January 8, which allowed Jallikattu to be held in 2017. The court had reserved its verdict in this regard.
Jallikattu: Blood sport or tradition?
Many political parties – including the opposition DMK – have been pressing the central and state governments to work towards lifting the ban. Supporters have held statewide protests, demanding that the sport be held this year.
VK Sasikala, general secretary of the ruling AIADMK, had demanded on Wednesday that the Centre facilitate the conduct of Jallikattu this Pongal by amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act through an ordinance.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said the event was “inextricably” linked to the rural and agrarian customs, practices and psyche of Tamils. Sasikala claimed Jallikattu was not cruel to the bulls, “unlike other sporting events involving horses and camels”.
Supporting the tradition, the Centre has said it would ensure that bulls are not tortured or made to drink alcohol before the event.
(With agency inputs)