A week after the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a law allowing jallikattu to be conducted in the state, the Supreme Court questioned the O Panneerselvam government’s decision to bring an Act. However, the top court refused to stay the law, even as it agreed to hear petitions filed by animal rights groups.
Rapping the state government for its new law, the apex court asked, “What is the necessity for Tamil Nadu government to bring an Act allowing jallikattu. Is there any legal answer to it?”
The court slammed the state government for defying the SC order in bringing in the law. “To say we want law peacefully is one thing, to defy the SC is another,” said Justice JR Nariman.
The bench comprised of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice JR Nariman also hit out at the Tamil Nadu government for hurriedly passing a law following largescale protests in the state, saying, “If Tamil Nadu government brought new legislature allowing jallikattu due to the protests, then how could it have criticised Karnataka in the Cauvery case?”
The court was referring to Tamil Nadu’s criticism last year when Karnataka chose to defy SC orders to release Cauvery water.
The SC also slammed the Tamil Nadu government for not maintaining law and order during the protests. The bench said, “Tell your government that law and order is primacy in civilized society and we can't tolerate such incidents.”
The apex court was hearing the petitions filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India and other groups, which challenged Tamil Nadu’s jallikattu legislation. The animal welfare groups contend that the hastily passed law is against the Supreme Court’s order that had held jallikattu inherently cruel to animals.
This comes even as President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the legislation on Monday. Following his nod, the Bill officially becomes an Act. The President’s approval is required in state laws that amend Central Acts.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly had on January 23 hurriedly passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017 following largescale protests at Chennai’s Marina Beach, Alanganallur and other parts of the state.
Chennai and many parts of the state saw the protests spiral into violence last Monday after a police crackdown on demonstrators.
Meanwhile, the SC also allowed the Centre to withdraw its 2016 notification that allowed jallikattu.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had last week informed the Supreme Court that the Centre would withdraw its earlier notification. The Centre’s move followed the passing of the jallikattu law in Tamil Nadu.