The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that every species has a right to life and security and prohibited the use of bulls in jallikattu events, holding the practice to be an offence and hoped Parliament would elevate the rights of animals to that of Constitutional rights.
A bench led by Justice K S Radhakrishnan held that the use of bulls in such events severely harmed the animals and constituted an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. “So far as animals are concerned, in our view, life means something more than mere survival or existence or instrumental value for human beings, but to lead a life with some intrinsic worth, honour and dignity. Animals’ well-being and welfare have been statutorily recognised under Sections 3 and 11 of the Act and the rights framed under the Act. Right to live in a healthy and clean atmosphere and right to get protection from human beings against inflicting unnecessary pain or suffering is a right guaranteed to animals under Sections 3 and 11 of the PCA Act read with Article 51A(g) of the Constitution,” the court said.
“An animal also has honour and dignity which cannot be arbitrarily deprived of and its rights and privacy have to be respected and protected from unlawful attacks,” the bench said, adding that the, “Court also has a duty under the doctrine of parens patriae to take care of the rights of animals since they are unable to take care of themselves against human beings”. “Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in... Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country,” it said and added that jallikattu demonstrates a link between actions of humans and the fear, distress and pain experienced by the bulls. The torture and cruelty meted out to the animals was unimaginable, it added.