NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued a show cause notice to the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), an advisory body established by the Government of India, for approaching the Supreme Court against the ministry’s January 7, 2016 order allowing the bull taming sport like Jallikattu during Pongal.
The show cause notice was issued to Maj Gen (retd) R M Kharb, Chairman, AWBI on March 28, nearly three months after the apex court stayed the Centre's notification lifting the ban. According to the ministry, the AWBI has no locus standi to file any matter before any court without seeking prior permission from this ministry.
"The AWBI has filed a Writ Petition titled as Animal Welfare Board of India and Others Vs Union of India in the Supreme Court against the notification issued o Jallikattu. The AWBI has no locus standi to file any matter before any court without seeking prior permission from this ministry. You are, therefore requested to show cause within three days from the receipt of the notice as to why the action should not be taken against the Board," said the notice.
It further says that the January 7 notification regarding the participation of bulls in Jallikattu and bullock-cart races was sent to the Board for compliance, in letter and spirit.
"Whereas, it has been noticed in the past that Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has been filing writ petitions in various courts seeking directions/relief against the Government of India and had specifically been directed to refrain from doing so. Whereas Government of India has issued clear instructions that the role of AWBI is advisory and the Board has been directed to get approval of the Ministry before filing counter-affidavits," it added.
A board member called the move political as elections are scheduled in Tamil Nadu.
“This is purely a political move. When Supreme Court has accepted that AWBI has a locus standi then the show-cause notice is superfluous. This move shows BJP’s desperation in run upto Tamil Nadu elections. It shows BJP just wants to score brownie points before the electorate,” said N G Jayasimha, an AWBI member.
The Board had approached the SC against the ministry’s order allowing the bull taming sport during Pongal. The board was extremely unhappy over the move and had in a letter to ministry of December 31, 2015 expressed the same.
The AWBI is a statutory advisory body advising the Government of India on animal welfare laws, and promotes animal welfare in the country.