"Historical Verdict": Tamil Nadu Law Minister on SC 'Jallikattu' order

Supreme Court, however, said that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, substantially minimises pain and suffering to animals.
Image for representation purpose only.
Image for representation purpose only.

NEW DELHI: Tamil Nadu Law Minister Thiru S Regupathy on Thursday termed the Supreme Court judgement upholding the validity of the State law allowing the traditional bull-fighting sport Jallikattu as "historical". 

"The Supreme Court has given a very good verdict and a historical verdict. It was a legal fight that we won," he told reporters in the national capital.

While speaking to ANI, TN Law Minister S Regupathy said that the verdict protected the culture of Tamil Nadu.

Addressing concerns of cruelty meted out to animals during the traditional sport, the minister said "There will be no cruelty to animals in the Jallikattu."

Chief Minister M.K Stalin in his tweet in Tamil welcomed the SC's judgement.

Earlier in the day, the apex court upheld the validity of the traditional bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart races.

Supreme Court, however, said that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, substantially minimises pain and suffering to animals.

A five-judge Constitution bench of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar was hearing a batch of petitions challenging Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra governments' laws allowing 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart races.

Supreme Court also allowed the validity of similar laws framed by the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka allowing sports involving animals.

The bench noted that Jallikattu has been going on for the last few centuries.

Strictly observing that the law, having received President's assent can't be interfered with, the bench dismissed all the pleas challenging the validity of states' laws allowing 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart races.

The five-judge Constitution bench directed that all laws are strictly implemented and the DM and competent authorities shall be responsible for strict implementation of the amended law.

The Tamil Nadu government had defended the event of "Jallikattu" and told the apex court that sporting events can also be a cultural events and there is no cruelty on the bulls in "Jallikattu".

The 'Jallikattu' is conducted during the Pongal festival as thanksgiving for a good harvest and subsequent festivals are conducted in temples which shows that the event has great cultural and spiritual significance, it had added.

In February 2018, the Supreme Court referred to the Constitution bench whether the people of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra can conserve Jallikattu and bullock-cart races as their cultural right and demand their protection under Article 29 (1) of the Constitution.

The top court had earlier said that the petitions challenging the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, needed to be decided by a larger bench since they involved substantial questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution.

Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra had amended the central law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and allowed Jallikattu and bullock cart racing, respectively.

The petitions were filed in the top court challenging the State laws.

A batch of petitions, led by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sought direction to quash the Jallikattu law passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, which brought bulls back into the fold of "performing animals".

PETA had challenged the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill 2017 passed by the state assembly on several grounds, including that it circumvented the apex court verdict holding the bull-taming sport as "illegal" in the state.

The top court had earlier dismissed the Tamil Nadu government's plea seeking a review of the 2014 judgement banning the use of bulls for Jallikattu events in the state and bullock cart races across the country. 

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