The Supreme Court today sought the response from the Tamil Nadu government on a plea of animal rights body PETA, challenging a state law that allowed bull-taming sport Jallikattu there. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to the state government on the plea of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and asked it to respond within four weeks.
The apex court, after issuing notice on the PETA’s plea, tagged it with other pending petitions on the issue. Animal rights body PETA has assailed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill 2017 passed by the state assembly on grounds including that it circumvented the apex court judgement holding the bull-taming sport as “illegal” in the state.
The state amendment had allowed the conduct of the bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu this year. PETA has alleged that Jallikattu was a blood sport in which the bulls were subjected to various types of cruelty. Besides PETA, the Animal Welfare Board of India and animal rights activists have also moved the Supreme Court challenging Tamil Nadu’s amendments to the statute.
Earlier, the apex court had dismissed the plea of the Tamil Nadu government seeking a review of the 2014 judgement banning the use of bulls for jallikattu events in the state and bullock cart races across the country. Jallikattu, also known Eruthazhuvuthal, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.
The court in its 2014 judgement had said that bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country and had banned their use across the country.