CHENNAI: How does one resolve the knotty issue of Jallikattu? Can the State government pass its own law or put pressure on the Supreme Court to revoke the ban?
Constitutional law experts say even if the Supreme Court passes an order, State and Central governments do have the powers to not accept it and draw up their own legislation. But like always, there’s a catch.
Maheravish Rein, Aeltemesh Rein Associates, practising constitutional law in the Supreme Court said that the government could enact a law in the Assembly provided it has two-thirds majority. “When the Assembly comes to a consensus then the introduced bill becomes the law of the land. But if the court feels the need, it could take suo motu cognizance of the matter or if it is challenged by any member of the public then the State will be answerable in court,” she explained.
However, senior advocate at the Madras High Court, K M Vijayan said that even if a bill is passed in the Assembly, the President of India needs to give his consent and this might not work with regard to Jallikattu. “The President has his set of ministers to advice him, so since the Centre is not keen on Jallikattu, it is useless to expect the President’s approval,” he explained.
In the case of Jallikattu, the Centre has more powers than the State. Remember it was the Union government that was responsible for adding the bull species to the list of performance animals a few years ago. “Our only hope is for the Central government to remove this notification. The species must be removed from the list of performing animals for Jallikattu to continue,” he explained.
Vijayan also reasoned that technically the bull is not a performance animal. “One of the rules by which an animal can be categorised as a performing animal is if the event that it is performing in is ticketed. Basically, if the audience is paying money to watch, then it is a performance animal. Going by that rule, how is a bull a performance animal, since people don’t pay to watch,” Vijayan told Express.