Just days ahead of Pongal festivities in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Tuesday accepted the plea of animal rights groups against conducting the bull taming sport Jallikattu, and has stayed the sport from being conducted this year.
Supreme Court on Tuesday heard petitions filed by Animal Welfare Board of India, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, two other NGOs and several individuals. The decision by the bench headed by Chief Justice Deepak Mishra and NV Ramana has come as a huge relief for animal rights activists.
With just three days to go for Pongal, it is unclear if Jallikattu will be held this year as the next hearing is four weeks from now as the court will hear the matter in four weeks time.
Even when the court had previously given directions about not hurting animals, there were several violations and that’s why the court had stayed the executive order lifting the ban, reported local media.
“It’s a very happy moment for us,” told a lawyer of one of the NGO’s seeking a ban on the bull taming sport.
The four-year-old ban on holding of Jallikattu was lifted on January 7 by the Modi government with certain restrictions. The decision to allow Jallikattu, days before traditional harvest festival Pongal begins along with bullock cart races in other parts of the country, had come through a government notification. In a notification issued on January 7, 2016 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the exhibition and use of bulls as performing animals for jallikattu and bullock-cart races was allowed under certain conditions.
Many legal experts including former judge of the Madras High Court Justice Chandru had said that the government should not have resorted to the notification route after its top legal officer; Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi apparently opined a that such an ordinance would be in violation of the Supreme Court order of May 2014.
With just a few days more for villages in Southern Tamil Nadu to conduct Jallikattu, the petitioners had made an urgent oral mention for an early hearing.
Jallikattu also known Eruthazhuvuthal is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.