News Update: Jallikattu petition- Supreme Court issues notice to TN Government, gives four weeks to respond

On Monday (November 6th) a Bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Khanwilkar heard a petition filed by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), India challenging the practice of Jallikattu, a sport involving bulls practised in Tamil Nadu. The petition filed by PeTA has also included an investigation report with video and photographs of how various Jallikattu events held in the state of Tamil Nadu this last year.

Despite provisions in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 that explicitly bars all sports involving bulls (and other animals) as being cruel, the Tamil Nadu State Assembly passed an ordinance in January of 2017 permitting the sport through a state-specific amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. This amendment is the subject matter of challenge before the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Petition filed by PeTA and listed on 6th of November.

Previously in the case of Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja and Ors [(2014) 7 SCC 547], it had been held that Jallikattu amounted to cruelty to animals and was in contravention to Article 21 read with Article 51 of the Constitution and Section 3, 11 and 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has refused to stay the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 and has permitted the amendment of a batch of Petitions filed by various animal welfare groups in 2016 to reflect the amended law and changed circumstances.

The current petition filed by PeTA has been tagged with the batch of Petitions filed in 2016 and subsequently amended and chiefly questions the validity of the amended Act and Rules of 2017.  A majority of these Petitions challenge the practice of Jallikattu on the grounds of the sport being inherently cruel to bulls, violating their Fundamental Right to a life of dignity and compassion, free from unnecessary pain and suffering along the lines of the decision in AWBI v. A. Nagaraja 2014 7 SCC 547. Lawyers Collective are representing petitioners from Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations(FIAPO).

The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Misra has issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government and given them four weeks to respond to the petition.

The Leaflet