Supreme Court reserves judgment in Jallikattu case

The primary question involved was whether Jallikattu should be granted constitutional protection as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1).

December 09, 2022 01:32 am | Updated 06:32 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Youth trying to tame a bull at a Jallikattu held at Pillamanaickenpatti near Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.

Youth trying to tame a bull at a Jallikattu held at Pillamanaickenpatti near Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. | Photo Credit: G. Karthikeyan

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday reserved for judgment a batch of petitions seeking to strike down a Tamil Nadu law which protects Jallikattu by claiming that the bull-taming sport is a cultural heritage of the State and is protected under Article 29 (1) of the Constitution.

The five-judge Bench led by Justice K.M. Joseph heard detailed arguments on the part of activists and the Tamil Nadu government.

The bone of contention is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules of 2017, which had re-opened the gates for the conduct of the popular bull-taming sport in the name of culture and tradition despite a 2014 ban by the Supreme Court.

The case was referred to the Constitution Bench in February 2018.

The primary question involved was whether Jallikattu should be granted constitutional protection as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1).

Article 29 (1) is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution to protect the educational and cultural rights of citizens.

The court examined if the laws “perpetuate cruelty to animals” or were actually a means to ensure “the survival and well-being of the native breed of bulls”.

The five-judge Bench heard parties on whether the new Jallikattu laws were “relatable” to Article 48 of the Constitution, which urged the state to endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.

In 2014, the Supreme Court, in the A. Nagaraja judgment, had held Jallikattu as cruelty to bulls.

The Constitution Bench also looked into whether Jallikattu and bullock-cart races laws of Karnataka and Maharashtra would actually sub-serve the objective of “prevention” of cruelty to animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.

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