Today's Paper

Jallikattu in T.N., bullock cart race in Maharashtra cleared

The Centre on Friday issued a notification to permit jallikattu, Tamil Nadu’s traditional bull-taming sport, ahead of the Pongal festival.

The notification overturns a 2011 notification that prohibited the exhibition or training of bulls, and some other animals, as performing animals.

The Supreme Court had in 2014 upheld the 2011 government order.

The present order permits jallikattu — and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, etc. — despite Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reportedly advising the government against revoking the ban in view of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Move to reach out to TN

Politically, the move is seen as an attempt on the part of the BJP government to reach out to Tamil Nadu, where the party has no presence.

There has been widespread political opinion in the State in favour of the traditional sport.

There was also pressure from Maharashtra, where there has been a tradition of bullock cart races. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar hails from the western State.

While retaining the general prohibition on using some animals — bulls, bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions — as performing animals, the notification makes an exception for such traditional sports involving bulls, subject to the permission of the local administration and some conditions.

It adds to the 2011 prohibition the qualification: “provided that bulls may continue to be exhibited or trained as a performing animal, at events such as Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat…”

The notification, however, includes a few guidelines to regulate the events.