In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of India has upheld the validity of Jallikattu, a traditional bull-taming sport, and bullock cart races in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The court’s decision, which reverberated through the nation, recognizes these activities as an integral part of the cultural heritage of the respective states.
The honorable Justice Aniruddha Bose, while delivering the judgment, emphasized the court’s stance to respect the legislature’s view on such matters. He stated, “We will not disrupt the view of the legislature and since the legislature has taken a view that it is a part of the cultural heritage of the state. In the preamble, it is declared as a part of culture and heritage of Tamil Nadu.” This endorsement from the court serves as a strong validation of the cultural significance associated with Jallikattu and bullock cart races.
However, Justice Bose also highlighted the need to adhere to penal statutes, clarifying that if these traditions violate any such laws, they will not be allowed. This stance underscores the court’s commitment to balancing cultural preservation with animal welfare concerns.
The Supreme Court’s decision came after various parties, including the Animal Welfare Board, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action), the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, Animal Equality, the Union of India, and the State of Tamil Nadu, challenged the amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act passed by the State Assembly. Despite the pleas challenging the validity of the states’ laws permitting Jallikattu and bullock cart races, the Apex Court dismissed them, reaffirming the legality of these cultural practices.
Supreme Court upholds the Tamil Nadu law allowing bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' in the State
Supreme Court says the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, substantially minimises pain and suffering to animals. pic.twitter.com/DPWVNPaArs
— ANI (@ANI) May 18, 2023
Previously, the Tamil Nadu Government had introduced an ordinance to amend the Central Act, thereby permitting Jallikattu in the state. Subsequently, the ordinance received ratification from the President of India. However, this move faced opposition from animal rights organization PETA, which argued that the ordinance was unconstitutional.
Jallikattu, also known as “Eruthazhuvuthal,” is a cherished bull-taming sport originating from Tamil Nadu. It holds significant cultural importance in the districts of Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai, and Dindigul, collectively known as the Jallikattu belt. Typically celebrated during the second week of January, coinciding with the Tamil harvest festival known as Pongal, Jallikattu attracts participants and spectators from far and wide.