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Supreme Court refuses to permit Jallikattu

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to vacate its order barring the bull taming sport Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu that is held during Pongal festivities.

An apex court bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice N.V. Ramana declined to lift an earlier order that put on hold a central government notification allowing Jallikattu and bull races.

Rejecting the contention of petitioner Radhakrishnan, the bench said they were not inclined to vacate their order of Tuesday prohibiting Jallikattu — on grounds of cruelty to the bulls.

The court said they were “unimpressed” by the submission made by the petitioner seeking a lifting of the stay.

Jallikattu, an ancient sport, is held in rural parts of Tamil Nadu during Pongal festival. It involves young men clinging on to the hump of bulls to win prize money.

Appearing for the petitioner, counsel N. Raja Raman told the court that Jallikattu was a part of Tamil tradition and culture and was being carried on for thousands of years.

Suspecting the Kerala beef lobby for the allegations regarding cruelty to the bulls, Raman said the animals in Jallikattu were the pride of the farmers who viewed them as a part of their own families.

Disagreeing with Raman’s submission that attack on Jallikattu was rooted in colonial era law of protecting animals from cruelty, Justice Misra said the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals law was enacted in 1960 when India was independent.

Appearing for one of the petitioners on whose petition the apex court had on Tuesday stayed the operation of the government notification permitting Jallikattu, senior counsel C.A. Sundaram made light of submission that BBC had made a documentary saying there was no cruelty to bulls in Jallikattu.

Referring to an earlier judgment of the apex court, Sundaram said it was held that the anatomy of the bulls was not such that they could be used for sports like Jallikattu or racing.

He said bulls cannot be called performing animals.

The apex court order of Tuesday putting on hold the central government’s January 7 notification followed petitions by animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi and NGOs Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Animal Welfare Board of India, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals India and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations.

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