The Supreme Court slammed the Centre on Wednesday for allowing ‘Roman-type gladiator sport’ bull fighting, jallikattu and bullock cart races. The apex court said that these type of sports can not be allowed on the ground of animal cruelty.
A bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Dipak Mishra questioned the legality of Centre’s January 7 notice to allow jallikattu. “Can bulls be contemplated for entertainment of human mind? Bulls are supposed to rest, why should they race.”
Jallikattu is a bull taming festival of Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races are famous in Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana.
Additional solicitor P S Narasimha told the bench that the government had framed some guidelines to hold such events.
The bench was hearing the petitions of the animal right activists including People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA), Animal Welfare Board of India and Compassion Unlimited Plus Action. They challenged the Centre’s notification in which it allowed the people to organize jallikattu and bullock cart races.
The bench referred to 48 and 51A of the Constitution and said while framing policies the government should show compassion towards animals.
It questioned, “Tell us how does a bull entertain. What training is given to bulls to entertain people. We want to know about it.”
A senior advocate Shekhar Naphade for Tamil Nadu when asked if humans can run marathons, why couldn’t bulls be a part of any race, Justice Mishra gave the answer, “Humans have free will, bulls are forced into it.”
In their defence, Tamil Nadu government explained that if Spanish Senate in 2013 called the ‘far more cruel’ bull fighting, a cultural heritage then there was nothing wrong to practice jallikattu.
The Apex court banned the sport in 2014 but the Ministry of Environment and Forests had allowed the sport and exhibited bulls as performing animals for jallikattu and bullock-cart races.
The bench remarked that Centre contradicted its own notification. The first part of its notice said that bulls along with tigers, panthers, monkeys, lions and bearsshall not be trained as performing animals but at the same time it also allowed the use of bulls in jallikattu and bullock-carts.
The Supreme Court in 2014, in its judgment stated jallikattu as “inherently cruel”. It said that no regulations or guidelines should be allowed to dilute the welfare spirit of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. If it was not obeyed then the court should adjudge them.