18 May 2023 6:50 AM GMT
The Supreme Court has expressed its disagreement with the 2014 division bench judgment in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja And Ors insofar as it held that Jallikattu is not a cultural practice in Tamil Nadu.A Constitution bench comprising Justice KM Joseph, Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar today said that as per...
The Supreme Court has expressed its disagreement with the 2014 division bench judgment in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja And Ors insofar as it held that Jallikattu is not a cultural practice in Tamil Nadu.
A Constitution bench comprising Justice KM Joseph, Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar today said that as per the materials placed before the Court, Jallikattu is going in Tamil Nadu for at least last one century and whether or not it as an integral part of Tamil culture could not have been decided by the Court.
"We do not accept the view of Nagaraja that Jallikattu is not a part of cultural heritage of State of Tamil Nadu. We do not think that there was sufficient material for the Court to come to that conclusion," the judgment authored by Justice Bose says.
It added, "When legislature has declared that Jallikattu is part of cultural heritage of TN state, judiciary cannot take a different view. Legislature is best suited to decide that."
The bench noted that the preamble to the state amendment had stated that Jallikettu is a part of cultural heritage of the State.
"We will not disrupt the view of the legislature that it is part of the cultural heritage of the state", the bench said.
The bench was dealing with petitions seeking compliance of the A Nagaraja judgment which prohibited Jallikattu bull fights in Tamil Nadu and similar activities in other states. The pleas also sought quashing of amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, introduced by the States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra to allow the conduct of animal sports.
In A Nagaraja, the division bench had said that Sections 3 and 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty Act, which confer duties on the organizers as well as corresponding rights on the animals, have to be read in consonance with Article 51A(g) of the Constitution of India which cast fundamental duties on every citizen to have compassion for living creatures. "Life" for animals was recognized to include the right to live in a healthy and clean atmosphere and right to get protection from human beings against inflicting unnecessary pain or suffering as guaranteed to the animals under the aforestated provisions.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the Tamil Nadu government had argued that it is natural for animals to suffer pain in the process of being domesticated or otherwise. However, he said that the real test for the court to see was whether such pain or suffering was "unnecessary".
Sibal had also argued that just because compassion for living creatures is specified as a fundamental duty under Article 51A, it cannot be argued that animals have rights under the Constitution.
The Constitution bench today upheld the States' Amendment Acts, stating they tend to "minimize" pain and suffering to animals and are thus, not contrary to the ratio in A Nagaraja. It observed,
"In A Nagaraja, the sport was held to attract the restrictions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, because of the manner in which it was practiced. The amendment Act and rules substantially minimises pain and suffering to animals."
The Court added that its decision will similarly apply laws on Kambala and bull-cart racing in Maharashtra and Karnataka and directed that these laws be followed strictly. "In our opinion TN amendment Act does not go contrary to Articles 51A (g) and (j) and does not violate Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution," the Constitution bench held.
Other reports about the judgment can be read here.
[Case Title: The Animal Welfare Board of India And Ors. v. UoI And Anr. WP(C) No. 23/2016]
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 447
Click here to read the judgment