AWBI's new Chairperson floated a resolution on Friday on whether the Board should withdraw its application challenging TN's new law.

AWBI still opposing jallikattu in Supreme Court but is divided withinPTI
news Jallikattu Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 19:00

The jallikattu issue has exposed divisions within the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), an autonomous body that falls under the Union Ministry of Environment. The rift within AWBI became apparent last week over its decision to challenge Tamil Nadu’s law allowing the bull-taming sport.   

A day after the Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously passed the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, AWBI along with other animal welfare organisations moved the Supreme Court on January 24 challenging the law.

However, a day later the Board’s Secretary, M Ravikumar wrote a letter to Anjali Sharma, lawyer and Executive member of AWBI demanding that the petition in the SC be withdrawn.

Animal Welfare Board of India takes back petition challenging TN jallikattu law

Describing the letter that was leaked to the media as “illegal”, Anjali Sharma told TNM, “The Secretary is an employee of the Board, and is not a member. They were trying to question my authority.”

With confusion prevailing over AWBI’s stance on the jallikattu issue, the new Chairperson SS Negi floated a resolution on January 27 on whether the Board should withdraw the application challenging TN’s new law. 13 out of 21 members in the Board voted in favour of not withdrawing the application.

“Floating the resolution was the right thing to do. The government wants to go one way but we are a statutory body. If the Board had said step back, I would have. But now they have ratified my authority, so there’s no question of stepping back,” Anjali said.

As Convenor of the AWBI’s legal committee, Anjali filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, stating  that she is authorised to appear on behalf of the Board.  

While the Supreme Court refused to stay Tamil Nadu’s new law permitted jallikattu, it gave AWBI and others two weeks to file fresh petitions.