Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have amended the central law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and allowed Jallikattu and bullock cart racing, respectively. The state laws have been challenged in the apex court.
A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will decide whether Jallikattu, the bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of Pongal festival, can be given the status of a cultural right and be protected.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R F Nariman on Friday referred a petition challenging the Centre’s January 7, 2016 notification and the January 2017 Tamil Nadu amendment to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act allowing the bull-taming sport.
“After hearing the petitioners and the respondents for some time, we are of the view that these writ petitions need to be authoritatively decided by a Constitution bench of five learned judges, as the writ petitions involve substantial questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution of India,” the Bench said, formulating five questions for consideration of the Constitution bench.
The Central notification and Tamil Nadu’s amendment came in the wake of widespread protests following the apex court order banning the sport on the ground of cruelty to animals. The Constitution bench will also examine if the impugned measures were colourable legislations and perpetuate cruelty to animals.