Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi said on Thursday that the Tamil Nadu government has the power to enact a law to treat jallikattu as a traditional sport.
Mr. Rohatgi had defended in the Supreme Court the Centre’s stand allowing the use of bulls in events like jallikattu. “The Constitution demarcates the role of the Centre and the States... As far as sports are concerned, they are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the State,” he said.
‘Ensure no cruelty’
“Now, the State could consider making a law to treat it as a traditional sport, but the State must ensure ... that there is no cruelty attached to the sport. It should not just be for the sport without bothering about the plight of the animals. I mean, you have bull fights in Spain. Those are cases where bulls are killed,” he said, talking to Times Now.
Mr. Rohatgi said people in Tamil Nadu revere the bull and it cannot be said that they treat them with cruelty.
“So the law can allow the sport subject to stringent conditions that there will not be anybody at a distance of 100 feet, nobody can throw stones or do any acts of cruelty and if the same are found to be done, then there can be punishment, so that the concerns of the Supreme Court rendered in the judgment, the concerns about cruelty, are also kept in view and a balanced position can be found by the State. That I think is the correct legal position,” he said.
Regarding the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Attorney General said it is a central law which can be amended by Parliament but if it is a sport in a local area, “let the State make the law relating to the sport minus any cruelty, with stringent punishment” for those who commit cruelty.
He said there is no legal or constitutional bar for the State not to act as soon as it wants to and it can call a special session or issue an ordinance.
“Merely because somebody may have [done] some cruelty, does not mean that the sport must itself be abolished,” he said.
Mr. Rohatgi said: “These issues sometimes raise emotional aspirations, but we have to think calmly, the law of the land must prevail.”