Following criticism from Tamil Nadu Congress leaders over his decision to appear before the Supreme Court to challenge the amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, party spokesperson and SC advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has decided to step aside from the case, reports TNIE.
Several lawyers including Singhvi had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the jallikattu bill passed by TN government on January 21, on Wednesday. The plea was filed on the behalf of the Animal Welfare Board of India and other animal rights activists. It reportedly termed the amendment a fraud on the Constitution and a violation of a 2014 apex court verdict. The case is expected to come up for hearing on Monday.
In an interview to Express, Singhvi said, “Despite my long association with animal rights cases and my appearance pro bono in all these matters, in deference to the sentiments of the Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress and the Congress party, which I deeply value and respect, I have decided to step aside and will not be appearing on Monday.”
Singhvi’s statement comes following calls within his own party demanding that he withdraw from the case or resign from the Rajya Sabha. The Congress has already found itself on the backfoot during the recent campaign for jallikattu. The UPA was in power in 2011, when the bull was included in the list of animals prohibited to be used in exhibitions and entertainment.
The party unit in Tamil Nadu has been facing the heat for Singhvi’s association with animal rights activists in this case. This, despite their attempt to explain the importance of the sport in their 2016 Assembly election manifesto.
“Jallikattu is a Tamil tradition, and it is the basic right of people here. Those who are against it are our enemies,” Tamil Nadu Youth Congress State general secretary, Mohan Kumaramangalam, told the Express ahead of Singhvi’s decision to not appear in the case. The leader further urged Singhvi to not appear in court for the case and warned that there would be protests against him if he chose to do so.