Activists welcome SC order on Jallikattu, parties want ordinance

Chennai, Jan 12 (IANS) Animal rights activists welcomed the Supreme Court order on Tuesday staying the central government’s notification on Jallikattu, a bull taming sport, but politicians expressed disappointment.

“I am delighted after hearing the news. It is a pity that the battle has to be fought continuously,” S. Chinny Krishna, vice chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), told IANS here.

He said whether the battle was over after the apex court’s decision or would have to continue depended on the government’s decision.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa urged the central government to issue an ordinance to enable the holding of Jallikattu after the Supreme Court stayed the bull taming sport.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa said: “I strongly reiterate my earlier request to the government to promulgate an ordinance forthwith to enable the conduct of Jallikattu.”

DMK president M. Karuananidhi also made a similar demand following the court decision.

Observing that Jallikattu amounted to cruelty on animals, an apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra said it cannot be permitted in the 21st century.

The ruling came two days ahead of the start of Pongal festival when Jallikattu is played in rural parts of Tamil Nadu.

Having stayed the notification issued by the central government on Friday, which effectively permitted Jallikattu, the apex court issued notice to the respondents.

Jallikattu is one of the oldest living sports and bulls are specifically bred for the event. The sport has led to numerous deaths in recent decades as young men try to tame the bulls.

Expressing disappointment over the apex court order, T. Velmurugan, founder of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi and a former legislator, told IANS: “As per the law of the land, the Supreme Court has decided.”

“The fault is on the central government. It could have amended the law properly by deleting bull from the banned list. The central government seemed to have acted with an eye to votes with its notification.”

According to him, the state government, after consulting legal experts, can look at promulgating an ordinance/law allowing Jallikattu as a sport since sports also falls under the concurrent list of the Constitution.

Velmurugan cited the views of Madras High Court former chief justice Markandey Katju on the issue.

PMK founder S. Ramadoss said the central and the Tamil Nadu governments were responsible for the bar on Jallikattu during the Pongal festival.

Reacting to the interim stay order of the Supreme Court on the central government notification that allowed Jallikattu subject to certain conditions, Ramadoss said both the governments took action that was legally untenable.

Ramadoss charged the Tamil Nadu government with not taking appropriate steps so that the apex court could hear its petition on Jallikattu early.

He said the state government had filed a review petition in May 2014 in the apex court against its order banning Jallikattu.

Ramadoss also charged the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government of inaction, saying the government could have amended the law removing bull from the list of performing animals.

According to an expert at a cattle research foundation, the ban on Jallikattu will result in the vanishing of Indian breeds of bulls and cows and would lead to import of foreign animals.

“The banning of Jallikattu and the demand for ban on other rural sports like ‘rekhla’ race will ultimately result in the vanishing of native species and ultimately result in the country becoming import-dependent on bovine animals,” Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, managing trustee of the Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation (SKCRF), told IANS.

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