The Supreme Court on Thursday declined three petitions filed by private individuals to review its May 7, 2014 judgment banning jallikattu (bull-taming sport) as an inherently cruel act.
In a decision taken in their chambers, a Bench of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and P.C. Ghose refused to entertain the petitions in line with the court’s recent order to stay a January 7, 2016 government notification allowing the sport. The petitioners were Arulmigu Muppillisamy Temple, Tamil Nadu Parampariya Veera Vilayattu Mattu Vandi Kaalaigal State Welfare Association and J.K. Ritheesh from Tamil Nadu. However, Tamil Nadu’s review petition, filed on May 19, 2014, is still pending.
On January 12, a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and N.V. Ramana refused to budge despite impassioned arguments from the Centre and Tamil Nadu that a festival intrinsic to the culture and tradition of a State could not be prohibited, especially when the 2016 notification put in place safeguards to prevent the cruel treatment of animals.
“What is the necessity of such a festival [jallikattu]... there was no festival for four years,” Justice Misra had shot back before staying the government notification.
Ordering interim stay, the Bench had also issued notice to the Centre and Tamil Nadu government to respond to a batch of petitions led by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) against the 2016 notification. Some of them have even sought contempt of court action against the Centre.
The 2014 ban issued by a Bench led by Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan had held that jallikattu, bullock cart race and other such events “per se violate the Prevention of Cruelty of Animal (PCA) Act”.
Consequently, bulls were banned from being used as “performing animals” either for jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the States of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in country.