The Division Bench of the Madras High Court, Justices M.Duraiswamy and T.Ravindran framed guidelines for conducting the much debated festival 'Jallikkattu'.
The petitioner prayed to direct the District Collector and the Revenue DIvisional Officer, Madurai District to include the representatives of Gounder, Yadhavar, Vellalar, Pandaaram & Vanaar Community and all other lacking communities of Alanganallur Village in "Jallikattu Vizha" Committee formed to conduct and support the "Jallikattu" event for the year 2020. The petitions further prayed to ensure that all communities of Alangallur village to receive just and fair treatment in case of composition and constitution of such committees in future Jallikkattu events.
The court noticed that a similar petition K.M.Thiruppathy v. The Chief Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu & Ors. was filed in the year 2019 concerning the conduct of Aniyapuram Jallikattu festival. Subsequently, the court ordered for the formation of two Committees to regulate the conduct of Jallikattu on the day of Pongal festival. Since the parties unanimously agreed for the terms imposed by the court, the Jallikattu festival was conducted in a peaceful manner.
Therefore, the court in the instant case directed for the formation of two Committees.
Firstly, the Jallikattu Organizing Committee which was headed by a Chairman (C. Manickam, Rtd. Principal District Judge) and Members (including District Collector and Inspector General of Police, Madurai)
Secondly, an Advisory Committee was appointed with 36 Members comprising the residents of Alangallur. In addition the court issued the following directions:
(1) The Jallikattu for this year would be conducted by the Organizing Committee;
(2) The Organizing Committee shall open bank accounts in any of the banks at Madurai and Alanganallur for deposit of donation/contribution for the conduct of Jallikattu. The Committee shall give receipts for the payments received and similarly, they must keep proper accounts of all the transactions in connection with the conduct of Jallikattu;
(3) The District Level Committee constituted by the District Collector under the Chairmanship of Revenue Divisional Officer shall give all the necessary assistance to the Organizing Committee;
(4) The Organizing Committee should ensure that the event is conducted in an orderly manner;
(5) The District Administration and Police must provide all the assistance at the (i) Point of entry of Bulls; (ii) medical examination point of bulls; (iii) Vadi Vasal Point; and (iv) Bulls collection point;
(6) There should be sufficient space for stationing the bulls and it must be ensured that the bulls are medically examined before taking part in the event;
(7) The Inspector General of Police, South Zone, Madurai and the Superintendent of Police, Madurai District, must post sufficient police officers under the control of a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the following points: (i) Main assembly point of bulls. (ii) The area from main Assembly point to the Medical Examination Centre. (iii) Medical Centre for bulls. (iv) Vadi Vasal Backside. (v) Bulls trainers checking point;
(8) The District Committee constituted by the District Collector must comprise the following: 1. Revenue Divisional Officer, Madurai, 2. Additional Superintendent of Police, Madurai, 3. Executive Officer, Alanganallur Town Panchayat, 4. Deputy Director (Health) Madurai 5. Regional Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, Madurai 6. Executive Engineer (Building and Maintenance), Public Works Department, Madurai 7. Joint Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, Madurai. 8. Regional Fire and Rescue Officer, Madurai 9. District Tourist Officer, Madurai;
(9) The Organizing Committee must ensure that the stage is not occupied by the members of the Advisory Committee or others on any account;
(10) The role of Advisory Committee is only to assist the Organizing Committee. They have no independent right to conduct the Jallikattu;
(11) The Organizing Committee shall give a press release informing the public not to give donation to any of the public including the Organizers, who were part of the event earlier. The donation should be given only to the members of the Organizing Committee;
(12) The Superintendent of Police shall post a superior officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police at the site for co-ordination with the Organizing Committee. Similarly, the District Collector must also depute a senior officer in the rank of a District Revenue Officer to assist the Organizing Committee. This would be in addition to the District Level Committee constituted by the District Collector;
(13) The District Collector shall convene a meeting of the Organizing Committee, Revenue and Police officials preferably on 14.01.2020 and not later than 16.01.2020 to discuss about the conduct of Jallikattu;
(14) There should not be any kind of first right (Mudal Mariyathai) either to the bull or its owner or to any other person;
(15) The members of the Organizing Committee must be given the required police protection by the Superintendent of Police by assessing the security aspect;
(16) Sufficient police force must be mobilized to give security to the place of event;
(17) The Committee is at liberty to evolve its own method for the smooth conduct of the event;
(18) The Organizing Committee is at liberty to engage personnel for assistance;
(19) The Jallikattu Organizing Committee shall conduct the event strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules, 2017;
(20) The entire event shall be video-graphed and the same shall be produced before the Registry of this Court along with a report;
(21) The District Collector shall carry out the mandate of the Statute and more particularly, the following: (i) The bulls are put to proper test by the authorities of Animal Husbandry Department and must ensure that no performance drugs irritant or similar substances are administered to the bulls in any form. (ii) Must ensure that the bulls are free from any kind of diseases and not intoxicated or administered with any kind of substance with the object of making them more aggressive or ferocious.
(22) (A) The Jallikattu Organizing Committee, in association with the official committee constituted by the District Collector must ensure the veterinary examination of bulls by the qualified Veterinarian of Animal Husbandry Department. The Jallikattu Organizing Committee must also see that there is no alcohol abuse and that the animals are not subjected to any such abuse;
(B) The arena, its area and the protected area must be maintained in accordance with the Rules;
(C) The bull run area should be protected by putting up strong double barricade and it should function as a wall to separate the gallery from the area;
(D) The bull collection yard should be maintained in association with the bull owners;
(E) The gallery for the spectators must be inspected and certified by the officials of the Public Works Department, who are part of the District Level Committee formed by the District Collector;
(F) The area should be barricaded with sufficient height, taking into account the prescription under the Rules;
(23) The composition of the Advisory Committee is not on the basis of any communal status and we have selected these members only in the interest of conducting the Jallikattu Festival in a peaceful manner;
(24) The District Collector shall provide one vehicle to the Chairman and another to the members of the Committee from the common pool of vehicles. He should also arrange accommodation for the Chairman of the Committee in the Circuit House at Madurai;
(25) The Superintendent of Police is directed to provide Personal Security Officers to the Chairman and other Members from 14.01.2020 till the completion of the event;
(26) The District Collector shall permit the Committee to convene a meeting in the Conference Hall of the Collectorate. The District Collector must ensure that a camp office is given to the Committee Members preferably near the venue;
(27) The donation for the event shall be taken only by the Organizing Committee. The Members of the Advisory Committee shall assist the Organizing Committee members for collection of the amount and for its deposit before the concerned bank;
(28) The Organizing Committee must ensure that flex boards or advertising
materials of any kind are not put up anywhere near the venue or its enroute. The party flags or any other materials either projecting the name of political parties or its leaders or communal organisation and its leaders should not be exhibited anywhere near the venue. The police shall remove all such materials and shall act in accordance with the direction of the Organizing Committee in this behalf.
(29) We make it clear that this arrangement is only for the Jallikattu on 17.01.2020. There would be no equity in favour of any of the Advisory Board members on account of their participation as a Member of the Committee. Similarly, there would not be any right to them to claim at a later point of time that they were earlier involved in the Jallikattu, as this arrangement is purely temporary;
(30) We also make it clear that this arrangement is made, in view of the dispute between several factions in connection with the conduct of Jallikattu and taking into account the possible law and order problem in the area, in case the issue is not settled amicably. This order should not be construed to be an expression of opinion on the conduct of Jallikattu earlier or the allegations made against each other by the parties;
(31) In addition to the above, the official respondents shall strictly adhere to the Rules and Regulations for the Conduct of Jallikkattu Events vide G.O.(Ms)No.7, Animal Husbandry Dairying and Fisheries (AH3) Department, dated 21.01.2017 as well as the Procedures for Conduct of Jallikkattu in Tamil Nadu vide communication of the Principal Secretary to Government, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Department, Secretariat, Chennai – 600 009, in D.O.Letter No.19900/AH3/2019, dated 24.12.2019 and the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) appended thereto, stating the role of the Departments concerned to ensure safe conduct of Jallikkattu events, as well.
(32) The District Collector, Madurai District, shall pay a sum of Rs.1,50,000/- (Rupees One Lakh and Fifty Thousand only) towards remuneration to the Chairman of the Jallikkattu Organizing Committee within a period of one week, from and out of the donation/contribution received by the Committee for the conduct of Jallikattu;
(33) The District Collector, Madurai District, the Inspector General of Police, South Zone, Madurai, the Superintendent of Police, Madurai District and the Organizing Committee shall file their individual reports after the event before the Registry of this Court.
Eventually, the Jallikattu event was held in Alangallur on 17.01.2020 after initial inspection of the arena by the officials from the District Administration and the Police department.
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