SC declines to entertain plea on protection for pro-Jallikattu protestors

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to entertain a plea for ensuring protection of protestors assembled in large numbers at the Marina beach in Tamil Nadu capital Chennai to protest against the ban on Jallikattu.

“Let the Madras High Court deal with it. You go there. Why do you come all the way to the Supreme Court,” a bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told petitioner-advocate N. Rajaraman.

As he urged the court to take suo motu cognisance of the gathering of a large number of people at the Marina beach for the last three days, the bench told him to move the high court as it had better knowledge of the situation.

Mentioning the matter, Rajaraman sought the court’s intervention so that the protestors supporting the bull-taming sport were not assaulted in a manner supporters of yoga expert Ramdev were baton-charged by Delhi Police at the Ramlila Ground in 2011.

The top court had on January 13 declined to vacate its May 2014 order banning Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.

The ancient sport is held in rural Tamil Nadu during Pongal festivities and involves young men clinging to the hump of a bull for a set period of time to win the prize money.

The top court, by its order dated January 12, 2016, had put on hold the Centre’s January 7, 2016, notification that allowed Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and also bullock-cart racing in many other states.

The court had stayed the operation of the notification after a batch of petitions by NGOs Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Animal Welfare Board of India, Gauri Maulekhi, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals-India and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, challenging the notification.

The petitioner non-governmental organisations had sought directions to the authorities to ensure compliance with law earlier laid down by the apex court on May 7, 2014, wherein the court said: “Jallikattu, bullock-cart race and such events per se violate Sections 3, 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(m)(ii) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and consequently, bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.”