In a major blow to the Tamil Nadu government, the Supreme Court today turned down its review plea to lift the ban centuries old Jallikattu or bull fighting in the state.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said it found no ground for a review.
The rejection comes a week after the apex court had questioned the Centre for its notification allowing the use of bulls in events like Jallikattu, saying India cannot “import Roman gladiator type sport”
“Animals may not have rights but humans cannot negate their obligation enshrined under the Constitution. We cannot import Roman Gladiator type sport here. One can use computer for indulging in bull fighting. Why tame bulls for it,” the bench had said.
It categorically told Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for Centre, that the government cannot remove the very basis of the apex court’s May 7, 2014 judgement by making a notification.
The court in its 2014 judgement had said that bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country, and had banned their use for such events all across the nation.
Animal rights activists had told the court that there is clear video evidence of how the animals are assaulted, intoxicated and subjected to other forms of cruelty. Lime juice is squeezed into their eyes and chilli powder is rubbed on their genitals to make them ferocious.On January 7, the environment ministry, through a formal notification, allowed the sport to take place. The top court, which subsequently put a stop to it, will hear the case again on November 16.
On May 7,2014, Upholding animal rights and pointing out the "untold cruelty" the bovines are subjected to, the Supreme Court had banned centuries-old Jallikattu-bullfights and bullock-cart racing- organised during festivals in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states.
Significantly, the bench headed by Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan (since retired) favoured elevating the rights of the animals to "constitutional rights".
"The Parliament, it is expected, would elevate rights of animals to that of constitutional rights, as done by many other countries, to protect their dignity and honour," the bench had said.
The ban order came on a petition filed by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) against the judgment of Madras High Court, which allowed the sport to continue.
Besides referring to the cruelty the bullocks are made to endure, the bench also spoke about a large number of the animals getting injured and even dying during the event.
The court had directed governments and AWBI to take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals saying "all living creatures, including animals, have inherent dignity and a right to live peacefully and right to protect their well-being".
Read the Judgment here.
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