NEW DELHI: The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday about its decision to withdraw its 2016 notification permitting jallikattu and other traditional sports involving bulls and said it was not needed any more after the Tamil Nadu assembly unanimously passed a law on Monday permitting the bull taming sport.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told this to Justice Dipak Misra, who with Justice R F Nariman had reserved verdict after hearing arguments for several days on the validity of the central notification permitting jallikattu and other traditional sports involving bulls. A bunch of petitions had challenged the 2016 notification and said it violated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act and a 2014 SC judgment banning use of bulls in traditional sports. The Centre’s decision to withdraw the notification could imply two different outcomes. One, the government is wary of the possibility of the SC verdict going against jallikattu and intends to render it infructuous. On the AG’s request, the bench had last week agreed to defer its judgment by a week. The AG had cited the emotionally surcharged atmosphere in Tamil Nadu in support of jallikattu to seek a postponement.
The second outcome is that withdrawal of the notification and passage of PCA (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017 could make jallikattu legal in the state, but it could render illegal several other traditional sports like bullock cart races and bull races in other states. The SC’s 2014 judgment had banned use of bulls in any such sport but the 2016 notification had permitted use of bulls in traditional sports with certain caveats.
Withdrawal of the notification would force other states to follow Tamil Nadu’s footsteps and pass laws amending the PCA Act to allow holding of the traditional sports involving bulls. In its January 7, 2016 notification, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change had suggested that bulls could continue to be exhibited or trained as performing animals at events such as jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat as part of culture in any part of the country.
However, its validity was challenged in the SC by Animal Welfare Board of India, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and others citing the May 7, 2014 judgment in which the SC had banned use of bulls as performing animals for jallikattu and bullock cart races saying they were basically draught and pack animals, not anatomically designed for such performances.
The notification had imposed certain conditions for holding such events, including that the rights conferred upon animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and five freedoms declared by the SC in its 2014 judgment are fully protected.
Source: Times of India