New Delhi: The Supreme Court is likely to hear on January 30 a batch of petitions by animal rights groups challenging the validity of a Tamil Nadu law permitting Jallikattu.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said that in all likelihood a bench comprising of him and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman would hear the plea on Monday on the bull-taming sport that is held in the state during Pongal.
He also referred to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s mentioning on January 24, about the intent of the government to withdraw a January 7 notification permitting the ancient sport.
The court has been moved by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) challenging the Tamil Nadu Amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act that was passed by the state assembly on January 23.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the CUPA, also told the court that they have filed an application pointing out that the state law permitting Jallikattu was repugnant to the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Senior counsel C.A. Sundaram, appearing for the AWBI, told the apex court that they had nothing to do with the government decision to withdraw the 2016 notification as they made substantive prayers and had nothing to do with the withdrawal.
Seeking the quashing of the Tamil Nadu amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, CUPA said it was “wholly in contravention with the law as well as the decision of the Supreme Court which squarely covers the entire issue”.
The CUPA has also sought direction to the central as well as the Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka governments to strictly enforce the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. particularly Sections 3 and 11. It wanted direction for “prohibiting the organisation and conduction of Jallikattu, bullock cart races, bull fights and similar events where bulls are made to perform as Section 11(1)(a) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, prohibits treating any animal in a way that causes unnecessary pain or suffering, and section 11(1)(l), which prohibits the mutilation of an animal’s body”.
Section 3 of the PCA Act provides for mandatory duties on the persons to take care of animals put under his charge.
The PIL by CUPA says that the amendment under challenge permits the bulls to be exhibited or trained as performing animals, at events such as Jallikattu in Tamilandu and bullock-cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat, which has already been held to be illegal and unconstitutional by top court.
Seeking the quashing of the January 7 notification permitting Jallikattu, the AWBI, in its application, said that the state amendment was in fact ultra vires the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Constitution and “nothing but a surreptitious method of circumventing the law laid down by the Supreme Court” by its 2014 judgment.
“The impugned amendment does not change the fact that Jallikattu is still a form of entertainment or sport and as such falls fouls of Section 11 of the PCA Act” and is thus “unconstitutional, illegal and invalid on the grounds that it directly contravenes central legislation in myriad ways”, it said in its application.