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No Jallikattu for Tamil Nadu? SC says can’t deliver verdict before Pongal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a plea seeking its intervention to pass judgment on bull-taming sport Jallikattu before Saturday. The top court said it was "unfair to ask the bench to pass order" on the matter.

Supreme Court said while the draft of the Jallikattu judgement has been prepared, it is not possible for it to deliver its verdict before Saturday, when it is to be organised in Tamil Nadu. This makes it near impossible for the state to hold the sport during Pongal festivities.

After the dismissal of the review petitions filed by the Tamil Nadu government in November last, there is very little chance for the Supreme Court to lift its ban on jallikattu to enable the event to be held during this year’s Pongal festival.

The Supreme Court however had reserved its verdict on December 7 last on the validity of the Centre’s notification issued on January 7, 2016 allowing jallikattu to be held. The court had stayed the notification immediately and as a result the event could not be conducted in 2016. The judgment is likely to be delivered in a couple of days ahead of Pongal on January 14.

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Rohinton Nariman while reserving the verdict had made its intention clear by observing that it is inconceivable that a bull which is a domestic animal should be tamed for the purpose of entertainment during the Pongal harvest festival. It is legally impermissible as the event has inherent cruelty to the animal.

The Judges noted that the very act of “taming a bull” to perform in an event runs counter to the concept of welfare of the animal, which is the basic foundation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.

AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala on Wednesday made a strong case for conduct of jallikattu this Pongal by bringing an ordinance to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, a copy of which was handed over to his office in New Delhi by AIADMK MPs, Mrs Sasikala said the event is “inextricably” linked to the  rural, agrarian customs, practices and psyche of the Tamils.”

Noting that the bulls that participate in jallikattu on the second day of Pongal festivities – Maatu Pongal – are specially reared for the purpose, she said the sport is “not in the least cruel to animals, unlike other sporting events involving horses, camels and other animals.”

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