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SC refuses to pass judgment on Jallikattu before Pongal

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea urging it to pass judgement on Jallikattu before the harvest festival of Pongal. It had also dismissed the review petition against its 2014 verdict.

Earlier, the apex court had questioned the Union Government for its January 2016 notification allowing use of bulls in events like Jallikattu, saying that its 2014 verdict banning the use of the animals cannot be negated.

About Jallikattu

  • Jallikattu is a bull taming or bull vaulting 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 the ancient Sangam literature the sport has been called as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ (means to embrace bulls). In older times Jallikattu 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 and bulls used for the sport belong to the pulikulam breed of cattle.
Supreme Court Ban
  • The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu in May 2014 and held that bulls could not be used as performing animals. It completely banned use of bulls for Jallikattu 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 (PCAA), 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.
  • It also had held that Jallikattu has nothing to do with exercise of the fundamental right of religious freedom. It also runs counter to the concept of welfare of the animal, which is the basic foundation of the PCAA.

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Union Government issues Notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the draft notification for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016 to regulate pet shops

The objective of these proposed new rules is to make pet shops accountable and to prevent cruelty inflicted on animals kept in such pet shops.

New Rules
  • Mandatory for all pet shop owners to register themselves with the State Animal Welfare Board (AWB).
  • Pet shops will be registered only after inspection by the representatives of AWB, a veterinary practitioner and a representative of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
  • Pet shops must ensure that animals are kept in comfortable surroundings and as per define space requirement for birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pig, hamster, rats and mice in the pet shops.
  • Pet shops must have basic amenities, general care, veterinary care, power back-up and other operational requirement for animals in it.
  • Mandatory for pet shops to maintain proper records of sale, purchase, death of animals and sick animals etc. in the shop.
  • Pet shop owner must submit yearly report to State AWB regarding animals, sold, traded, given away, boarded or exhibited during previous year or any other information asked for by the State AWB.
  • Non-compliance of the proposed rules will lead to cancellation of registration of pet shop and pet animals in the shop will be confiscated shall be handed over to a rescue centre recognised by the Board or Animal Welfare Organisation.
Background

MoEFCC has the mandate to implement the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. The provisions of the PCA Act are general in nature, and rules dealing with specific situations have to be notified by MoEFCC from time to time.

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