The Madras High Court Bench in Madurai has asked the Aakavayal panchayat president in Ilayankudi taluk of Sivaganga district to submit a demand draft (DD) for Rs. 5 lakh as a pre-condition for permitting “erudhu kattu” (a sport in which oxen are tamed by pulling ropes across their neck) in view of a local temple festival.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Chitra Venkataraman and M. Duraiswamy, directed the panchayat president to present the DD by Thursday. In the meantime, the Sivaganga Revenue Divisional Officer and Superintendent of Police were directed to inspect the venue and file a report on the safety arrangements made.

The Bench said the condition to deposit money was being imposed by following earlier orders passed by the High Court while according permission for “jallikattu” (bull fight). The amount could be used to compensate the participants or spectators who suffered injuries in the sporting event.

The court also recorded submission made by government counsel that the Legislative Assembly had passed a Bill recently to regulate “jallikattu” and such other sports. Producing a copy of the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Bill, 2009, he said it would be notified soon after obtaining the President’s assent.

The Bill states that permission shall not be granted unless the district collector was satisfied that the event was conducted between January and May and the venue was suitable for orderly conduct of the event. It was also made mandatory that the event should have been conducted continuously for the last five years.

Taking precautionary steps for orderly conduct of the event such as erecting barricades in the arena and the way through which the bulls will pass through were the other requirements under the proposed law. The spectators would be allowed to watch the event only from the gallery in order to avoid injuries.

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