Supreme Court refuses to lift ban on Jallikattu, dismisses Tamil Nadu petition | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Supreme Court refuses to lift ban on Jallikattu, dismisses Tamil Nadu petition

The Supreme Court refused on Wednesday to lift a ban on Jallikattu (taming the bull) and dismissed the Tamil Nadu government’s petition seeking review of the May 7, 2014, judgment that put an end to the annual event held in the state as part of Pongal celebrations.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2016 21:44 IST
HT Correspondent
In this 2007 photo, participants tackle a bull during the annual Jallikattu festival in Palemedu, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the temple town of Madurai.
In this 2007 photo, participants tackle a bull during the annual Jallikattu festival in Palemedu, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the temple town of Madurai.(AP)

The Supreme Court refused on Wednesday to lift a ban on Jallikattu (taming the bull) and dismissed the Tamil Nadu government’s petition seeking review of the May 7, 2014, judgment that put an end to the annual event held in the state as part of Pongal celebrations.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Nariman said the 2009 law that permitted jallikattu violated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, that is dedicated to prevent “unnecessary pain and suffering caused to animals.” The law’s objective cannot be overlooked, the bench said.

Justice Misra, writing the judgment, said Tamil Nadu’s argument that jallikattu had a religious significance to the people of Tamil Nadu for over 1000 years was not acceptable.

“How does Article 25 come in here? Jallikattu is not a religious event. You (State) are defaming the framers of the Constitution by linking Jallikattu to Article 25. We are unable to connect this kind of reference to an event with the right to freedom of religion as it is totally alien to the Constitution,” the bench held.

It ruled “cruelty” was inherent in the event and is prohibited under the law. The very act of taming a bull to perform in an event runs counter to the concept of welfare of the animal. It was inconceivable that a bull which is a domestic animal should be tamed for the purpose of entertainment during the harvest festival, the court said.

Tamil Nadu justified the 2009 Act, contending the law was introduced to stop any kind of torture. “Taming a bull is not torture,” senior advocate Shekhar Naphade told the bench on behalf of the state. “You cannot ban Jallikattu just because there was torture long ago. It is like a bank stopping all loans just because somebody had cheated it once long ago,” the counsel argued.

Tamil Nadu wanted a review of the 2014 verdict as it referred to global concepts, Upanishads and reports of Animal Welfare Board, which the state said was “alien to our concept.” But, the court said while dealing with legal principles it could certainly refer to cultural ethos of the country as contained in the Upanishads.

The court will now proceed with hearing petitions that have challenged Centre’s January 7, 2016 notification permitting Jallikattu, with certain conditions and safeguards. It fixed December 1 to hear the matter.