NEW DELHI: THE Environment Ministry is all set to move a Cabinet note for lifting the ban on bull taming sport jallikattu and bullock cart racing by bringing in an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
With the Law Ministry already giving a go-ahead, the ministry is expected to bring the amendment in Parliament in the monsoon session starting from July 18.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) forwarded a note for Cabinet to the Law Ministry on June 15 on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill 2016, and has sought its comment and the latter has given a go-ahead for it. The Ministry has proposed introduction of the amendment in Parliament for amending the PCA Act 1960.
The draft bill says that any animal notified in the official gazette, in exercise of the powers conferred under sub- section (II) of section 22 of the Act, shall continue to be exhibited or trained as a performing animal at events in a manner prescribed by the religion or any community, or practiced traditionally under the customs or as a part of the culture in any part of the country.
“These events may, inter alia, include jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat among others,” says the draft amendment which was returned to the Ministry on June 30. A copy of the draft amendment is with the Express.
The Supreme Court in January restrained the Tamil Nadu government from conducting jallikattu and stayed the Centre’s notification lifting the ban on it. The Environment Ministry on January 7 issued a notification lifting the ban.
Calling for maintaining caution, it further said that events so organised shall be held with prior approval of the district authority concerned and shall be duly monitored by the district SPCA and the State Animal Welfare Board (as representative of Animal Welfare Board) ensuring that no unnecessary pain and suffering is inflicted or caused, in a manner whatsoever during the course of events so organised.
“It is pertinent to mention that the subject matter of the note is relatable to entry 17 (PCA) of the concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and therefore Parliament has powers to amend the PCA Act, 1960.
“Subject to our observations, there appear no legal or constitutional objections to the proposal. Hence we may concur in the proposal,” said the Law Ministry officer on the note sent to the Ministry.
The note also mentions that even the Attorney-General has sought opinion about the legality of exclusion of bulls from the apex court 2011 notification and the Law Ministry has categorically said that a simple withdrawal of the notification dated 11/07/2011 will be contradictory to the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body advising the government, had approached the court along with other animal right organisations against the Ministry’s decision to lift ban on jallikattu.