SC declines to adjourn hearing of pleas against Jallikattu

A bench headed by Justice KM Joseph refused to adjourn the matter when counsel appearing for Tamil Nadu urged it to hear the matter after the winter break of the Supreme Court as a compilation in the case has to be filed.
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to adjourn a batch of petitions challenging the laws of the Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra governments that allow bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart races.

A bench headed by Justice KM Joseph refused to adjourn the matter when counsel appearing for Tamil Nadu urged it to hear the matter after the winter break of the Supreme Court as a compilation in the case has to be filed.

"Jallikattu is in January, we will not adjourn it," said Justice Joseph directing the lawyer to file compilations.

Earlier, the top court's Constitution bench had scheduled the pleas against Jallikattu for hearing on November 23.

A five-judge Constitution bench of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar were hearing the matter.

In February 2018, the Supreme Court referred to the Constitution bench whether the people of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra can conserve 'Jallikattu' and bullock-cart races as their cultural right and demand their protection under Article 29 (1) of the Constitution.

The top court had earlier said that the petitions challenging the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, needed to be decided by a larger bench since they involved substantial questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution.

It had said that the 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.

Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra had amended the central law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and allowed Jallikattu and bullock cart racing, respectively.

The petitions were filed in the top court challenging the state laws. A batch of petitions, led by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sought direction to quash the 'Jallikattu' law passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, which brought the bulls back into the fold of "performing animals".

PETA had also challenged the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill 2017 passed by the state assembly on several grounds, including that it circumvented the apex court verdict holding the bull-taming sport as "illegal" in the state.

The top court had, previously, dismissed the Tamil Nadu government's plea seeking a review of the 2014 judgement banning the use of bulls for 'Jallikattu' events in the state and bullock cart races across the country.

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