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What is Jallikattu?

Introduction
What is Jallikattu?
  • Jallikattu is a popular bull taming sport, part of Tamil Nadu's Pongal celebrations, where young men try to cling on to a charging bull.
  • A native species of bull, 'Jellicut', is reared for the sport.
  • Originally an ancient agrarian custom, where local youth would chase and outrun bulls, zamindars moved the sport to the cities and turned it into a display of power.

Legal battle over Jallikattu

Jan 2008
Legal battle over Jallikattu
  • The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2008 after a petition by a victim's father.
  • After the Tamil Nadu Government's appeal against the ban, the Supreme Court permitted Jallikattu but with certain guidelines.
  • A year later, Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Regulation Act was passed that called for registration of bulls, certification by vets and other provisions.
  • The Animal Welfare Board appealed against the Madras Government's decision.

What the other side says

Fact
Information

Jallikattu supporters argue that preserving the ancient tradition of bull-fighting helps in the conservation of the native species of bulls and helps maintain healthy breeds. Families that own the bulls feel that the sport is a way to settle scores between neighbours.

Supreme Court bans Jallikattu; calls it a violation

8 May 2014
Supreme Court bans Jallikattu; calls it a violation
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court resolved the lawsuit filed by Animal Welfare Board and PETA and banned Jallikattu along with horse and bull races.
  • The court said even bulls have rights against torture.
  • The court observed that the conditions the bulls were subject to in bull sports were 'cruel' and 'unnecessary' and were a violation of animal rights under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Tamil Nadu politicians protest the ban

8 Jan 2015
Tamil Nadu politicians protest the ban
  • Thousands of members of the Jallikattu union protested the ban, with the support of various political parties.
  • The DMK declared a fast to show solidarity with the protesters.
  • Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa wrote to the PM to rescind the ban on Jallikattu and convene a special parliamentary session for the same so that the traditional sport could be a part of January's Pongal celebrations.

Centre to allow banned bull-taming sport

29 Dec 2015
Centre to allow banned bull-taming sport
  • The Centre will soon allow Tamil Nadu's popular bull taming sport, Jallikattu and other bullock races, that were banned by the Supreme Court a year ago.
  • The Centre would need to amend the Protection of Animals Act, 1960, to revoke SC's judgement favouring the protection of fundamental rights of animals.
  • The announcement comes on the back of mounting pressure from politicians and Jallikattu organizers.

SC suspends lifting of Jallikattu ban by Centre

12 Jan 2016
SC suspends lifting of Jallikattu ban by Centre
  • The SC suspended the Centre's notification which lifted the Jallikattu ban.
  • The court, in its interim injunction, suspended the Centre's January 7th notification by issuing it a notice.
  • The states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were also given similar notices.
  • This order might pose a problem to BJP which wants to woo the Tamil Nadu voter bank that wants the ban to be lifted.

Supreme Court compares tradition of Jallikattu with child marriage

27 Jul 2016
Supreme Court compares tradition of Jallikattu with child marriage
  • On 26th July, 2016, in an affidavit filed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, Climate and Change, Jallikattu was justified as a centuries-old custom.
  • Justice Dipak Misra, part of the two-member bench asked, "There were 8,000-odd child marriages in 1899. Should we continue with it?"
  • The bench stated that sides having stakes in the matter would be allowed to place their views in August.

SC lambasts Centre for permitting Jallikattu

11 Nov 2016
SC lambasts Centre for permitting Jallikattu
  • The Supreme Court lambasted the Centre for allowing Jallikattu - bull fighting and bullock cart races to continue; the court said it is the constitutional obligation of the government to protect animals.
  • The government argued that it had framed guidelines to ensure that animal cruelty is minimized.
  • The court cited Article 48 and 51A of the Constitution, demanding an explanation for the Centre's decision.

BJP: SC unaware of Jallikattu's cultural role

03 Dec 2016
BJP: SC unaware of Jallikattu's cultural role
  • The BJP stated that the Supreme Court was not aware of the cultural significance of the festival of Jallikattu.
  • BJP leader H Raja said "People sitting in the Supreme Court don't know what Jallikattu is, but are making statements which are completely irrelevant."
  • He also accused the UPA2 administration of cracking down on cultural practices under the influence of American Christian NGOs.