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Ahead of Jallikattu season, SC may refer law to special bench

In January 2017, the Tamil Nadu government brought in a new law that ensured that bulls are not barred from being used for the rural bull-taming sport.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2017 23:01 IST
HT Correpondent
HT Correpondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Jallikattu,Jallikattu season,Tamil Nadu
The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2014, upholding concerns raised by activists who said it amounted to cruelty to animals.(PTI File Photo)

Just a month ahead of Jallikattu festivities in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court of India reserved orders on a challenge to the state’s new Jallikattu law that brings back bulls as a performing animal and allows the bull taming festival, which is a key part of the harvest festival.

The court has indicated that it is inclined to refer questions arising from the new law to a constitutional bench.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra pointed out that three issues arose out of the new law.

“First, whether the Tamil nadu government had the legislative competence to make the new law amending certain sections of the central law. Secondly, whether the object of the new law is in consonance with the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act and lastly, if Tamil Nadu can seek constitutional protection for Jallikattu as a cultural right.”

In January 2017, the Tamil Nadu government brought in a law to facilitate the conduct of Jallikattu.

The state government amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and brought in the Tamil Nadu Amendment Act, 2017. The new law amended certain sections of the Central Act and ensured that bulls are not barred from being used for the rural bull-taming sport.

Subsequently the president of India also gave his assent to the law.

The Supreme Court banned the sport in 2014, upholding concerns raised by activists who said the Jallikattu amounted to cruelty to animals besides posing a threat to humans. Between 2010 and 2014, an estimated 17 people were killed and 1000-odd were injured during Jallikatu events.

The Supreme Court said, “use of bulls in such events severely harmed the animals and constituted an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to the Animals Act.”

First Published: Dec 12, 2017 23:01 IST