Jallikattu cultural heritage: Supreme Court upholds Tamil Nadu law allowing the sport [18.5.2023]

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutional validity of the amendments made by the state of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to the central law of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act.

The judge bench comprising Justice KM Joseph, Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of laws permitting Jalikattu, Kambala and bull-cart racing in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The court further asserted that Jallikattu is a part of the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu.

"We are satisfied on materials that in Jallikattu is going in Tamil Nadu for last one century. Whether this as part of integral part of Tamil culture requires greater detail, which exercise judiciary cannot undertake.."

Through a 2017 ordinance, the Tamil Nadu government announced an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act to allow Jallikattu in the state; this was also later ratified by the President of India.

Animal rights body PETA had challenged the amendment by the state on the basis of unconstitutionality.

In 2018, the court referred the pleas challenging the amendments to allow Jallikattu to a larger bench since they involved substantial questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution.

Jallikattu is a traditional bull-taming sport celebrated in the second week of January during the festival of Pongal.

18 May 2023