What : Banned Jallikattu
When : 13,January,2016
The Supreme Court has stayed the Union Government’s notification lifting ban on traditional bull taming sport Jallikattu during the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu. In this regard the apex court rejected the plea of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Tamil Nadu Government. This decision was taken by a SC bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana on petitions filed by various bodies including Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) seeking striking down of the MoEF’s notification.
Background Earlier on 8th January 2016, MoEF had lifted the four-year-old ban on holding of Jallikattu ahead of the Pongal festival along with Bullock cart races in Maharashtra.
This notification allowed the exhibition or training of bulls and some other animals, as performing animals by following the traditional customs as a part of culture.
It also had added a few guidelines to regulate these sports involving animals as performing animals. However, the issued notification was against the Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling which had completely banned use of bulls for Jallikattu (also bull fighting) events or bullock-cart races across the country. The ban was imposed by SC as it violated provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; fundamental duty Article 51A (g): compassion towards animal; Article 21 (Right to Life), which prohibits any disturbance to the environment, including animals as it is considered essential for human life.
Jallikattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu on Mattu Pongal day as a part of Pongal celebrations i.e. harvest festival. It is one of the oldest living ancient tradition practiced in the modern era. Jallikattu has been derived from the words ‘calli’ (coins) and ‘kattu’ (tie), which means a bundle of coins is tied to the bull’s horns. In Sangam literature it is called ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ (means to embrace bulls).
Tradition: In older times it was popular amongst warriors during the Tamil classical period. The bull tamer sought to remove this bundle from the animal’s head to win gold or silver coins to be called ‘brave’ and ‘valourous’. All castes participate in the event and majority of jallikattu bulls belong to the pulikulam breed of cattle.