Jallikattu Current Affairs

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Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously passes Jallikattu Bill

The special session of Tamil Nadu Assembly has unanimously passed Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 to lift Supreme Court imposed ban on the traditional sport of Jallikattu.

The bill will now replace the ordinance promulgated in this regard by the Governor on the recommendation of state government.

Key Facts 
  • The bill amends section 2 of the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. It defines jallikattu as a traditional sport involving bulls.
  • It allows state government to conduct it in notified places on any day from January to May. It also allows other sports involving bulls- vadamadu, manjuviratu, and erudhuvidumvizha performed in different parts of Tamil Nadu.
  • Earlier the state government had promulgated the ordinance in a bid to defuse the raging protests across the state demanding lifting of the ban on jallikattu.
Background

Jallikattu, a bull taming sport is traditionally held as part of the four-day Pongal festival (harvest festival) in the Tamil Nadu. It is bull taming sport in which a bull vaulter is expected to hang on to the animal’s hump for a stipulated distance or hold on to the hump for a minimum of three jumps made by the bull. The Supreme Court in May 2014 banned the conduct of Jallikattu over the issue of animal cruelty.

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Union Government clears Tamil Nadu’s Ordinance on Jallikattu

The Union Government has Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to promulgate an ordinance to hold Jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport.

The Union Ministries of Home, Law and Environment has vetted the state’s draft ordinance and cleared the amendment. Now, Tamil Nadu Governor can promulgate ordinance as per Article 213 of the constitution.

Key Facts
  • It was mandatory for Tamil Nadu government to get a nod from the Centre as subject in this regard was falling in the Concurrent list of the Constitution.
  • The ordinance will denotify the bull from the list of performing animals. This will ensure that provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 will not apply to the bull.
  • It will circumvent Supreme Court imposed ban on Jallikattu in May 2014. The apex court had banned use of bull as performing animals including traditional events like Jallikattu, bullock-cart races.

Jallikattu is bull-taming sport and an age-old annual event celebrated during Pongal (Harvest festival) in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the oldest living ancient traditions practiced in the modern era. Read more

Article 213 of Constitution: It gives legislative power to Governor i.e. state executive.  Governor can promulgate ordinances when legislative assembly (incase of unicameral legislature) is not in session i.e. recess or both houses of state legislature (incase of bicameral legislature) if there is urgent need to have a law on some urgent public matter. The promulgated ordinance has similar effect to a law enacted by the state legislature. However, every ordinance must be laid and approved state legislature (or legislative assembly) within 6 weeks from the reassembling. If not placed and approved by both houses of the state legislature ( or legislative assembly) after reassembling it lapses or becomes invalid.

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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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