No ‘Jallikattu’ in 2017, SC Verdict After Pongal


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a plea seeking its intervention to pass judgment on bull-taming sport Jallikattu before Saturday. The top court said it was “unfair to ask the bench to pass order” on the matter.

Supreme Court said while the draft of the Jallikattu judgement has been prepared, it is not possible for it to deliver its verdict before Saturday, when it is to be organised in Tamil Nadu. This makes it impossible for the state to hold the sport during Pongal festivities this year.

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The court had reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging Centre’s notification allowing the sport. The court had earlier questioned the Centre for its January 2016 notification allowing use of bulls in events like Jallikattu, saying that its 2014 verdict banning the use of the animals cannot be “negated”.

Supporting the tradition, the Centre has said that it could ensure that bulls are not tortured or subjected to alcohol before the sport.

Earlier, the apex court had observed that the country cannot “import Roman gladiator-type sport” as it is against the culture of compassion towards animals.

The court in its 2014 judgement had said that bulls could not be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country, and had banned their use across the country.

The apex court had also dismissed the review petition against its 2014 verdict.

The apex court had also earlier declared Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009 as constitutionally void, being violative or Article 254(1) of the Constitution.

On January 8, last year the Centre had issued a notification lifting ban on Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu with certain restrictions, which was challenged in the apex court by Animal Welfare Board of India, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, a Bangalore-based NGO and others.

On July 26, last year the apex court had said that just because the bull-taming sport of Jallikattu was a centuries-old tradition, it could not be justified. It had said if the parties were able to convince the court that its earlier judgement was wrong, it might refer the matter to a larger bench.

AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala on Wednesday made a strong case for conduct of jallikattu this Pongal by bringing an ordinance to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, a copy of which was handed over to his office in New Delhi by AIADMK MPs, Mrs Sasikala said the event is “inextricably” linked to the  rural, agrarian customs, practices and psyche of the Tamils.”

Noting that the bulls that participate in jallikattu on the second day of Pongal festivities – Maatu Pongal – are specially reared for the purpose, she said the sport is “not in the least cruel to animals, unlike other sporting events involving horses, camels and other animals.”