Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaFile

'Not right to form impression of cruelty to bulls based on photographs'

The bench asked Rohatgi about the argument advanced by the counsel for one of the petitioners about human lives being lost and injuries being caused.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, which is hearing a challenge to a Tamil Nadu law allowing jallikattu, on Wednesday said it will be a “very dangerous situation” if the court made an impression based on photographs placed before it by some petitioners to depict alleged cruelty to bulls during the bull-taming sport.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph said it can’t hold that the provision enacted in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 by a state amendment with the assent of the President is “bad in law” because the photographs say so.

“If we go on making an impression based on the photographs, it will be a very dangerous situation for us,” observed the bench, also comprising justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar.

“Can we say, or can we record any finding based on these photographs that the legislation is bad? Can we draw any impression based on these photographs which you have showed to us?” the bench asked.

The apex court’s observation came after senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for some of the petitioners, referred to news reports and photographs to argue about cruelty to the bulls in the game.

Divan also referred to media reports about deaths and injuries caused to humans as well as bulls which have taken place in several districts during jallikattu. The bench asked Rohatgi about the argument advanced by the counsel for one of the petitioners about human lives being lost and injuries being caused.

“With great respect, in every field of activity, people lose their lives. You are driving on a road, you may not be driving rashly. Somebody else does something. Somebody may die. Some truck may overturn. Some building may fall. Some bridge may fall,” Rohatgi said.

The bench said, in the context of jallikattu, the government was enabling such a thing to happen.

“The state is permitting it to happen. What is more, the state is actively promoting it,” the court said.

Rohatgi retorted: “There also the state is promoting people to drive at 100 miles an hour if you go from here to Agra. They have made a road. The Minister says, drive at 120 (km) an hour, it is a great road. It is the state, which has done all this. At the end of the day, it is not as if that millions of people are going to be killed like a famine.”

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