Jallikattu Row: TN Govt Defends ‘Cultural Value’ of Bull-Taming Sport, SC Raises Questions Over ‘Compassion & Cruelty’

The debate over allowing the bull taming sport – Jallikattu is back in the court premises with the Tamil Nadu Government making its case before the Supreme Court. The TN government on Tuesday defended the law allowing jallikattu, saying it is an “incorrect notion” that an activity, which is in the nature of a sport or entertainment, cannot have a cultural value.

Jallikattu, also known as “eruthazhuvuthal”, is a bull-taming sport that is popularly played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival in January.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K M Joseph was told by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Tamil Nadu, that a sporting event can also be a cultural event and there is no cruelty on the bulls in jallikattu adding that the bulls involved in sport are maintained by farmers round the year.

Dwivedi also argued that countries like Peru, Columbia and Spain consider bull fighting a part of their cultural heritage.

The five-judge bench had earlier asked the state whether an animal can be used, as in jallikattu, for the entertainment of humans.

The bench, also comprising justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and C T Ravikumar, asked should the animal, for whom one is supposed to have “compassion” as a constitutional value, be subjected like this for the entertainment of humans and can a state allow this on the basis of its perception of cultural rights.

The apex court had, in its 2014 judgment, said bulls cannot be used as performing animals either for jallikattu events or bullock-cart races, and banned their use for these purposes across the country. It had earlier dismissed the Tamil Nadu government’s plea seeking a review of its 2014 judgment banning the use of bulls for jallikattu in the state and bullock-cart races across India.

Tamil Nadu had amended the central law — The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 — and allowed jallikattu in the southern state.

(With inputs from PTI)

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