Supreme Court begins hearing on Jallikattu, Sibal makes submissions for TN

 A five-judge bench on Thursday began hearing pleas challenging Tamil Nadu government’s law on Jallikattu with senior lawyer Kapil Sibal making his submissions on behalf of Tamil Nadu.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed the “ultimate question” perhaps might be whether the bull-taming sport, dubbed by many as cruel to animals, can be allowed in any form.

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

The lawyers appearing for several petitioners told a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K M Joseph that allowing something which is cruel to an animal cannot be permitted.

However, the bench said it is the case of the Tamil Nadu government that these bulls are trained and treated with greatest of affection.

The Constitution bench had on November 24 commenced hearing arguments on a batch of petitions challenging the Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra laws allowing “jallikattu” and bullock-cart races.

The Tamil Nadu government recently told the top court that “jallikattu” is a religious and cultural festival that bears a “religious significance” to the people of the state and does not violate the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

In a written submission filed in the apex court, the state has said “jallikattu” is not merely an act of entertainment or amusement but an event with great historic, cultural and religious value.

The apex court is considering the five questions referred to it by a two-judge bench of the top court in February 2018. Further details are awaited.

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