NEW DELHI: Holding it as a Constitutional obligation of the government to show compassion towards animals, the Supreme Court pulled up the Centre on Wednesday for allowing bull-fighting, jallikattu and bullock cart races, saying all these kinds of sport could not be permitted on the ground of cruelty.
A bench of Dipak Misra and Rohinton Fali Nariman questioned the validity of the Centre’s notification which allows bulls to be exhibited or trained as a performing animal at events such as jallikattu, a bull-taming festival of Tamil Nadu, and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat.
Justifying the notification which has already been stayed by the apex court, additional solicitor general P S Narasimha told the bench that the government had framed guidelines for holding such events which were organised to entertain people.
The bench, however, was quick to question whether a bull can be tamed and trained to entertain people. “Tell us how does a bull entertain. What training is given to bulls to entertain people. We want to know about it,” it said.
Referring to Article 48 and 51A of the Constitution, the bench said the government should show compassion towards animals while framing policies. “We are supposed to show compassion to animals. Jallikattu is itself cruelty to animals,” the court said.
The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by animal rights activists, including Animal Welfare Board of India and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), challenging the Centre’s notification issued on January 7 by which it had allowed people to organise jallikattu and bullock cart races, which had been banned by the apex court.
They contended that the notification was illegal as it violated the apex court’s earlier order on animal rights and sought that the Centre’s decision be set aside.
The bench also pointed out contradictions in the Centre’s notification as the first part of it says that bulls along with bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animals but it also allows use of bulls in jallikattu and bullock cart races.
Referring to the notification, the bench said either bulls could be allowed or banned and there could not be a middle path. The arguments remained inconclusive and would resume on November 16.
Source: Times Of India