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Supreme Court refuses to vacate stay on jallikattu order

The court heard an intervention application filed by four persons said to be affected by the apex court’s stay on Centre’s notification allowing jallikattu.

January 13, 2016 04:12 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:16 am IST - New Delhi

Jallikattu supporters observe a fast at Alanganallur in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Photo: S. James

Jallikattu supporters observe a fast at Alanganallur in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Photo: S. James

Merely 24 hours after it stood up for the bull's right to life and dignity by staying a government notification allowing Jallikattu, an "unimpressed" Supreme Court refused to alter its stand despite fresh interventions on Wednesday blaming the court for being influenced by the “fogged vision” of city-dwellers at the cost of hurting the traditions of pastoral Tamil Nadu.

A Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra held that the stay was granted in accordance with one of the highest of principles enshrined in the Constitution, that is, compassion for living creatures.

It referred to the Supreme Court judgment of 2014, which held that Jallikattu caused “considerable pain and distress to the bulls”.

“The 2014 judgment enshrines the concept of Article 51A (g) and (h) of the Constitution. There cannot be a scintilla of doubt that the Constitution is an organic and compassionate document. We are unimpressed... and do not alter our stay order,” Justice Misra held, adding Pongal will happen even without Jallikattu.

The drama, a sequel to the Jallikattu hearing on January 12, started when certain individuals, who claimed to be “affected” by the Supreme Court stay of the January 7, 2016 notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests allowing the sport, made an urgent mention before Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur on Wednesday morning. They sought to intervene in the Supreme Court to voice the concern of rural Tamil Nadu about the stay.

The petitioners, led by A. Ramakrishnan, a Chennai resident, was referred by the CJI court to the Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and N.V. Ramana, who had ordered the stay the previous day.

Justice Misra's Bench took up the matter at 3 p.m.. Arguing for the petitioners, advocate N. Rajaraman spoke for the rural farmers who “rear bulls like children and brothers”, in that order.

“The 2014 judgment of the Supreme Court did not ban Jallikattu. It only said to stop the cruelty. It only asked for safe play not ban declaring Jallikattu as cruelty,” Mr. Rajaraman argued.

He contended that a ban on Jallikattu has a sociological impact and has a devastating effect on indigenous breeding.

“The stay order is a result of the fogged vision of the city-dweller about what happens at Jallikattu. We worship bulls... The farmer, with his moustache twirled, breeds bulls as a matter of pride,” Mr. Rajaraman submitted.

He warned that the prohibition would only force farmers now to send their bulls to Kerala to be slaughtered.

To this, Justice Misra asked: “You say you treat these bulls like family members. So now the bull has no purpose, you send them to Kerala for slaughter?”

“It is our necessity. No Jallikattu means poverty. Economy will collapse,” Mr. Rajaraman responded.

Mr. Rajaraman, at one point, even asked the court to send Animal Welfare Board of India counsel and senior advocate Aryama Sundaram and PETA counsel Anand Grover to visit Jallikattu arenas in the capacity of the apex court's commissioners to check whether bulls are cruelly treated.

“The idea of the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960 is to prevent cruelty. Nothing has changed in the time between yesterday's stay order and today. No new fact has been introduced in this petition,” Mr. Sundaram countered.

On a personal note, Mr. Sundaram pointed to how he and senior advocate K.K. Venugopal for Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations also hail from Tamil Nadu and continue to object to the conduct of Jallikattu.

“So, not all of Tamil Nadu speaks the same language... not all of the State wants Jallikattu,” Mr. Sundaram said.

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