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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.