February 20, 2017

Supreme Court refuses to give consent for jallikattu before Pongal

Supreme Court refuses to give consent for jallikattu before Pongal

The Supreme Court refused to be hurried into pronouncing its verdict on a government notification allowing jallikattu before Pongal on Saturday.

A Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra on Thursday termed the plea made during mentioning hour by a group of lawyers as “simply unfair”.

Justice Misra said the process of drafting the judgment has just begun and pronouncement would take time. The notification, issued by the Centre on January 7 last year, had sought to circumvent an apex court ban on jallikattu in 2014. The notification had re-introduced bulls into the fold of ‘performing animals’ under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, thus giving an indirect nod to jallikattu, which the apex court had described as an act of “inherent cruelty”.

The apex court had stayed the notification on pleas made by animal activists. Justice Misra, who is heading the bench hearing the Jallikattu case, also declined permission to file an application for an interim lifting of the stay on the government notification for Pongal.

The Tamil Nadu government had sentimentally argued in favor of the notification, saying that it had introduced stringent controls over the conduct of jallikattu. “For 30 seconds or 15 feet, whichever is longer, the bull runs and is embraced by a tamer. What is the cruelty in that?” Tamil Nadu government had asked in the main hearings on the January 7 notification.

Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha, for the Centre, had argued against “absolute prohibitionism” in the case of Jallikattu. It has to acknowledge that the government should be allowed a degree of flexibility in particular cases. The Centre had contended that jallikattu was inextricably linked to the rural life of Tamil Nadu, where villagers cannot shed their centuries-old culture and “go watch Formula One racing”.

On November 16, 2016, the Bench had dismissed Tamil Nadu government’s review petition against the 2014 judgment, saying the very act of “taming a bull” was counter to the concept of welfare of the animal under the 1960 Act.

It is believed that jallikkattu has been following as a custom for more than 5000 years in Tamil Nadu and now the Supreme Court just intervened to stop something that been practicing for ages.

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