Tamil Nadu amended law that allows Jallikattu; seeks to prevent cruelty on animals: State tells SC

Sibal’s contention was that since Jallikattu involved an ancient practice of breeding native bulls by the local communities it also served the cause of conservation of a Native breed of cattle.

Published: 01st December 2022 07:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st December 2022 08:20 PM   |  A+A-

Bull taming, jallikattu

Representational image (File photo| KK Sundar, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Defending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tamil Nadu (Amendment Act) 2017 which allows the continuation of bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart races, Tamil Nadu on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that the amendment was not a colourable piece of legislation as it seeks to prevent cruelty on animals. 

“They are saying it is a colourable legislation because it perpetuates cruelty. But there is a presumption. The new regime seeks to prevent it. If it seeks to prevent it, it cannot be a colourable exercise of power,” Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal for the Tamil Nadu government told the constitution bench led by Justice KM Joseph. 

Referring to the rules by which safeguards have been embedded, he said the basic rules of Jallikattu do not permit the bull to be tamed/restrained by using any instruments like sticks, ropes or knives and do not permit the participants to hold any other part of the bull except the hump.

“Changes that have been introduced by way of rules, Only one person approaches the bull. Participants are not allowed to touch the bull. It is 'participants and bulls' and not 'participant and bull' because there are several participants and several bulls,” he added.

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It was also Sibal’s contention that since Jallikattu involved an ancient practice of breeding native bulls by the local communities it also served the cause of conservation of a Native breed of cattle. Laying emphasis on the fact that the protection of the native breed of bulls is a policy decision, Sibal said that the ban on Jallikattu between 2014 to 2016 had depleted the precious native germplasm. 

“It is to showcase the bull. its vigour. Its strength. To show that this is bull you should mate your cow with. What's wrong with that my lords? In 80% of the cases, there is no fear to the bull. They run away and nobody can touch them. Humans are instead afraid. There is no issue of lack of constitutionality, there is legislation in place, new rules have been put in place if they have a grievance they can move the appropriate court,” he also added. 

On agreeing to examine the basis for providing Presidential assent to the three state laws that allowed the sport, the five-judge bench also asked SG Tushar Mehta to apprise the bench whether the state had also placed rules governing the conduct of Jallikattu.

“I have seen the files presented before the President for assent. Every single aspect was submitted,” Mehta had submitted.  


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