SC to hear petitions to quash Jallikattu notification

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear a batch of petitions against a recent government notification permitting Tamil Nadu’s Jallikattu bull taming sport with some restrictions.

A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi agreed to hear the pleas after they were mentioned by senior counsel Siddharth Luthra on Monday morning.

The petitioners, who also include animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi, have sought the quashing of a government notification on Friday to overcome the 2014 apex court ban on Jallikattu.

The central government, in a gazette notification on January 8, removed bulls form the list of animals that are banned from public display, thereby allowing the traditional Jallikattu or bull taming sport during the state’s Pongal festival.

The notification thus allows bulls to be exhibited as a performing animal at Jallikattu and bullock-cart races in Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab.

The apex court by its May 7, 2014, verdict while banning Tamil Nadu’s centuries-old Jallikattu bull fights had said that bulls could not be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu or bullock-cart races.

Holding that the rights guaranteed to the animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, could not be taken away or curtailed, the apex court had said: “We, therefore, hold that AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) is right in its stand that Jallikattu, bullock-cart race and such events per se violate the PCA Act.”

Asking the government to accord constitutional status to animal rights, the apex court had said: “Parliament is expected to make proper amendment of the PCA Act to provide an effective deterrent to achieve the object and purpose of the act and for violation of section 11, adequate penalties and punishments should be imposed.”

Upholding the central government’s July 11, 2011 notification, prohibiting bulls from being used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country, the apex court by its 2014 verdict had said that Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu (TNRJ) Act was repugnant to the PCA Act.

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