Judging jallikattu – Verdict upholds cultural sentiment, but animal rights, human safety matter too

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Source: The post is based on the article “Judging jallikattu – Verdict upholds cultural sentiment, but animal rights, human safety matter too” published in The Hindu on 22nd May 2023.

Syllabus: GS – 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: About traditional bull-taming sports.

News: The Supreme Court has recently upheld amendments made by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to allow the traditional bull-taming sports of Jallikattu and Kambala, and bullock-cart racing.

About the case

A 2014 Supreme Court judgment banned the sport Jalli Kattu and upheld the activists’ statement that any sport involving a physical contest between man and bull violates animal rights. But the State government amended the central Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, in its application to the State, and obtained the President’s assent.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has now settled the issue, ruling in favour of jallikattu as a cultural event.

Must read: Jallikattu: cultural practice or cruelty?

About the SC’s decision to permit traditional bull-taming sports

Must read: Supreme Court upholds Tamil Nadu law passed to overturn court’s jallikattu ban

What led to the SC’s decision to permit traditional bull-taming sports?

This is because a) Fresh regulations minimise the game’s potential for cruelty and pain which formed the basis for the 2014 judgment, b) The Court accepted the legislature’s view that jallikattu is a sport conducted every year to follow tradition and culture.

What should be done?

The organisers as well as the respective governments should bear the burden to prevent the infliction of pain and cruelty on animals.

These traditional bull-taming sports pose a danger to both participants and spectators. So, the organisers have to mandate protective gear for the participants and strictly enforce rules for proper barricades to keep spectators safe.

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