Pleas Against Allowing Jallikattu To Be Referred To Constitution Bench

Pleas Against Allowing Jallikattu To Be Referred To Constitution Bench

The batch of pleas challenging Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra laws allowing bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart races will be referred to a constitution bench, the Supreme Court said today.

“A larger bench would decide whether states have the legislative competence to make such laws on grounds, including that 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart racing fell under the cultural rights enshrined under Article 29(1) and can be protected constitutionally”, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R F Nariman said.

The SC would also hear separately the pleas challenging the Karnataka Ordinance allowing Kambala (buffalo races) in the state and issued notice on the petitions filed by parties including PETA and fixed them for hearing after six weeks.

The bench said it wanted to put an end to the controversy in view of the fact that Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have been asserting that the laws were enacted to protect the cultural rights of a section of society.

The larger bench would decide whether state legislatures have legislative competence to make law on the subject, it said.

The issue whether the state laws were in consonance with the basic tenets of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, a central legislation, would also be tested, it said.

SC referred to Article 25 and Article 29(1)  of the Constitution and said they may not enable states to make such laws. The interpretation will have far-reaching consequences, the bench said, adding that it would deliver a judgement and refer the matters to a larger bench.

Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively, argued in support of the state laws and said the law-making powers of state assemblies cannot be curtailed.

“There cannot be fetters on the legislatures on making laws”, Rohatgi said, adding that bulls are taken care of as family members and moreover, Jallikattu has been part of cultural tradition for over 2,500 years.