CHENNAI: Any hopes of the Modi government taking the ordinance route to permit popular bull-taming sport jallikattu – a day after the Supreme Court stayed the Centre’s notification on it — evaporated on Wednesday after Union Minister Nirmala Sitaraman categorically ruled out its possibility.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court refused to alter the stay order issued on Tuesday, much to the disappointment of hundreds of jallikattu enthusiasts here. The bench of justices Dipak Mishra and N V Ramana that had ordered the stay following petitions by animal rights activists and organisations, maintained on Wednesday that it was “unimpressed” by the arguments put forth by the petitioner who filed the intervention petition.
With just two days left for Pongal, Nirmala Sitharaman said here: “We made our position very clear by issuing the notification that allowed jallikattu. Now, the stay that has been ordered by the SC is an interlocutory stay. That is, between hearings. In this situation, it is not possible for the Central government to issue a notification or an ordinance to allow the conduct of jallikattu.” The demand for an ordinance had been made by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and other TN parties much before the Centre, in its wisdom, sought to issue a notification.
With the BJP-ruled Union government caught in a bind, the party seems to have made its first false start in the new year ahead of the State Assembly elections.
Sitharaman, however, tried to pass the buck to the State government. “There is such a thing as an Entry 38 in the State List of the Centre-State relationship that allows states to conduct big fairs, sandhais (markets) etc. If the Tamil Nadu government were to issue an ordinance or an order allowing its conduct, then we will stand behind it,” she stated.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters at Kancheepuram, Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan said the Centre did not want to act in haste as there were many legal issues involved. “We don’t want act in haste as such a move may result in permanent ban on Jallikattu,” he said. That was another indication that the ordinance route was out of question.
Soon after the Centre’s notification, experts had opined that it would not stand the scrutiny of the apex court, which had already banned the bull-taming sport.