New Delhi: The Supreme Court has refused to lift the ban it had imposed on Tamil Nadu's controversial popular bull-taming sport Jallikattu played around the festival of Pongal every year. The apex court was hearing intervention pleas filed by the organisers of the sport seeking vacation of its stay on holding the sport.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday stayed a notification by the central Ministry of Environment and Forests that allowed Jalikattu to be held this year. The ban was initially imposed by the top court in 2014 following demands from rights groups who pointed to animal cruelty and human deaths during the event. The Centre's decision to allow the sport had also drawn fire from animal rights group PETA.
From an issue of animal rights, the issue has gained political proportions as it concerns a vast majority of the people of Tamil Nadu. The sensitivity of the matter became abundantly clear yesterday when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the promulgation of an ordinance to allow the popular sport to be held this year.
The Animal Welfare Board and various bodies have been staunchly against the sport, prompting them to move the top court in the matter. The SC had then upheld a notification by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change categorising bulls in the list of animals which shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animals.
However, last week, the central government allowed the sport stipulating several conditions. The notification stated that such races will be organised on a 'proper track' and bulls are to be put to proper testing by the authorities of the Animal Husbandry.
"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 in the manner by the customs of any community or practiced traditionally under the customs or as part of culture," it read.