SC refuses to stay Tamil Nadu amendment permitting Jallikattu

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the Tamil Nadu government amendment permitting Jallikattu, while telling the the state government that it was its primary responsibility to maintain law and order.

The court allowed the Union government’s plea to withdraw January 7, 2016 notification that permitted the Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart race in some States.

The operation of said notification was stayed by the top court on January 12, 2016.

Issuing notice on a plea seeking stay on the amendment permitting the popular bull-taming sport, the bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman took exception to the manner in which the Supreme Court verdict banning Jallikattu was sought to be openly defied.

“We are only concerned with the court’s honour, which we all share,” the bench told the senior counsel appearing for Tamil Nadu government.

“To say that we changed the law peacefully is one thing. To come out openly to defy the supreme court is another. We are only concerned with court’s honour… which we all share,” said Justice Nariman.

Taking exception to the failure of Tamil Nadu government in maintain the law and order, Justice Misra told the three senior counsel (K.Prasaran, C.A.Vaidyanathan and Rakesh Dwivedi): “Please tell your State executive (Tamil Nadu government) that the law and order has a primacy in a civil society. Please tell them … convey to them when the highest court is seized of a matter there has to be an absolute silence….”

“We are concerned with rule of law, this kind of things should not occur,” he said asking K.Prasaran: “Are you supporting this action. If you can’t answer, we will not ask you.”

The court also wanted to know how many people lost their lives during recent bull-taming sports that took place after law was amended, while adding that describing the breeding of native bulls – that are used in Jallikattu – as culture was a question that has to be debated.

Defending the Tamil Nadu law permitting Jallikattu, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, as it stands also permits slaughtering. The Act also allows the slaughtering off animals for religions functions and mentioned “Halal”.

Advocating a holistic approach in dealing with the issue, he said that law allows the killing of animals for consumption but at the same time prohibits cruelty.

The court said when law allows the killing of animals for consumption, then it comes under the “doctrine of necessity”.

Having expressed its displeasure over the protest at Mariana Beach and rest of the State in favour of Jallikattu, the court allowed the NGOs Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, the Animal Welfare Board of India, and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals India to amend the prayers in their petitions to challenge the Tamil Nadu amendment permitting Jallikattu.

The apex court by its May 7, 2014 verdict had said that “Jallikattu, bullock-cart races and such events per se violate Sections 3, 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(m)(ii) of PCA Act and consequently, Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the State of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.”

Tamil Nadu had sought the review of this verdict which was rejected last year.

Animal welfare organisations and activists are seeking the compliance of this judgment by the states.