The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) advised the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MEF&CC) not to overturn the Supreme Court judgement which currently bans jallikattu, (bull races and bullfights) in the country. Immediately after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India complained about a recent statement made by Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of EF&CC, promising to allow jallikattu, the AWBI advised the Ministry against any such action, according to a letter received by the PETA.
The advisory to the Secretary of the MEF&CC from the Convenor of the AWBI's legal sub-committee expressed shock and concern about the media reports regarding Mr. Javadekar's promise to issue an executive order to allow jallikattu. The AWBI's opinion with respect to events such as jallikattu, bullock carts races, kambala, etc., and the cruelty perpetrated on animals forced to participate in the same is unchanged: They are illegal, and have been struck down by the Supreme Court as illegal and unconstitutional, said the advisory.
“You are therefore requested to urge the Minister to refrain from taking any step to “allow” any such event, because the same will be at variance with the Supreme Court judgment in the matter of “Animal Welfare Board of India Vs A. Nagaraja and Others”, and at variance with law and the Indian Constitution,” said AWBI. It also noted that the MEF&CC was a party to the Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja and Others case and had said everything that Mr. Javadekar is now reported to be saying. However, the Supreme Court had rejected the submissions made by the then MOEF [ now MEF&CC] in no uncertain terms, and held that to continue with “customs” that perpetuate cruelty on animals is in fact a blatant violation of the law of this country, and is not in consonance with our Constitution and the ideals it embodies.
The AWBI's communication further urges the Secretary to advise the Minister that the Court categorically held that the Ministry cannot issue a notification / order, replacing or even modifying the notification dated July 11, 2011 (whereby the use of bulls, bullocks, etc. in such events had been banned) without taking the AWBI's view with respect to the same. As to the aspect of culture and tradition, the Court held that if
these are at variance with the law enacted by Parliament, and with the Indian Constitution, the latter will of course take precedence. PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura on Thursday recalled that when jallikattu was permitted in the past under regulations, hundreds of human participants were injured each year and many were killed. In just four years, from 2010 to 2014, approximately 1,100 injuries to humans were reported by the media as a result of cruel and dangerous jallikattu-type events, and 17 people died.