The Supreme Court on Thursday pronounced its judgment on a batch of pleas challenging Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra laws allowing Jallikattu, a traditional bull-taming sport. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K M Joseph, Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar upheld the validity of Jallikattu.
#BREAKING | SC upholds the Tamil Nadu law allowing bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' in the State.#TamilNadu #Jallikattu #SupremeCourt https://t.co/6CjsNJ9CEq pic.twitter.com/tZs5sMIuju— Republic (@republic) May 18, 2023
"Jallikattu", also known as "Eruthazhuvuthal", is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.
Supreme Court, in its verdict, said that the Tamil Nadu amendment is not a piece of colourable legislation, it relates to Entry 17 of list 2. "It minimizes cruelty to animals in sports. The amendment has received Presidential assent, we do not think there is any fault in it," said the five-judge Constitution bench.
The five-judge bench observed, "We are satisfied with materials that Jallikattu has been going in Tamil Nadu for the last century. Whether this as part of an integral part of Tamil culture requires greater detail, which exercise the Judiciary cannot undertake. We do not accept the view of Nagaraja that Jallikattu is not a part of the cultural heritage of the state of Tamil Nadu. We do not think that there was sufficient material for the Court to come to that conclusion."
The top court also mentioned that "when the Legislature has declared that Jallikattu is part of the cultural heritage of the Tamil Nadu state, Judiciary cannot take a different view. The legislature is best suited to decide that."
Dismissing all writ petitions, Supreme Court upheld laws allowing Jallikattu, Kambala and Bull-Cart Racing In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Earlier, the Tamil Nadu government in its affidavit had defended the event of Jallikattu and told the apex court that sporting events can also be cultural events and there is no cruelty to 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," the state had said.
Jallikattu is conducted during the Pongal festival as Thanksgiving for a good harvest and subsequent festivals are conducted in Temples which shows that the event has great cultural and spiritual significance.
Countries like Peru, Columbia and Spain consider bullfighting a part of their cultural heritage, the Tamil Nadu government had argued, adding that bulls involved in 'Jallikattu' are maintained by farmers around the year.