'Notion that sports or entertainment can’t have cultural value incorrect'
NEW DELHI: The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday defended in the Supreme Court the law allowing bull-taming sport jallikattu in the state, saying it is an “incorrect notion” that an activity, which is in the nature of a sport or entertainment, cannot have a cultural value.
In its written submissions filed last month in the apex court, the Tamil Nadu government has said jallikattu is a religious and cultural festival that bears a “religious significance” to the people of the state and does not violate the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.
During the arguments on Tuesday, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph was told by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Tamil Nadu, that a sporting event can also be a cultural event and there is no cruelty on the bulls in jallikattu.
“This is an incorrect notion that an activity, which is in nature of a sport or entertainment or amusement, cannot have a cultural value,” he told the bench, also comprising justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar.
Dwivedi argued that countries like Peru, Columbia and Spain consider bull fighting a part of their cultural heritage.
He said bulls involved in jallikattu are maintained by farmers round the year. “This cannot be overlooked at all, which is completely lost sight of. We are overemphasising the pain etc,” he said, adding, “Let them live their lives at least.”
During the day-long hearing on Tuesday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre as well as the Maharashtra government, told the bench that he “fully supports” the legislations of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. On the issue of Presidential assent to these laws, Mehta said he has come with the original files and would submit them for the perusal of the court.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi also advanced arguments on behalf of Tamil Nadu in the matter.