AS election battles heat up across the country, the Supreme Court Tuesday observed that the government’s decision to allow the use of bulls in south India’s ‘Jallikattu’ festival is “politically motivated” and the authorities could not care less since the animal was not a class of voter for them.
Condemning the government for summarily removing the bull from the list of animals prohibited against use as performing animals, a bench led by Justice K S Radhakrishnan said the indifference to the animal was apparently due to “political reasons”.
“The government’s decision appears to be politically motivated. Since bulls cannot vote; they don’t have voting rights, they can be put to dangers. You (government) seem to be guided by vote bank politics,” remarked the bench.
It added that the government was more interested about its voters, who had fun at the cost of the animals, which were made to run in the fields due to fear and frenzy.
“The legislature decided to undermine them since they cannot vote. A smokescreen is tried to be created by a legislative framework. But it is the court’s duty to discard this smoke screen in the interest of the animals, which cannot protect themselves…and we will protect them,” said the bench.
The court refused to accept the government’s stand on removing the ‘bull’ from the list and fixed the matter for next week to hear them further.
Emphasising on the “historic, cultural and religious significance of the event,” the central government had decided to allow use of bulls in ‘Jallikattu’ festivals by amending the list of animals prohibited from being trained for performances. The list was issued in accordance with a notification in July 2011.
“In order to strike a balance and to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders including the animals, while keeping in mind the historic, cultural and religious significance of the event and with a view to ensure that no unnecessary pain or suffering is caused to the animals, participants and spectators, the government of India proposes to exempt ‘bulls’ participating in ‘Jallikattu’ in the state of Tamil Nadu from the purview of the 2011 notification,” its affidavit had stated.