New Delhi, Jan 15: The Supreme Court today permitted ''jallikattu'' (bullfight) during the Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu subject to certain safeguards to be observed by the state government to ensure that no injury is caused either to the animals or people.
The bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal modified its earlier order dated January 11 banning the bull fights, terming them ''barbaric''. The court directed the state government to provide adequate security to the Doordarshan team as well as officials of the All India Animal Welfare Board to take the video of the event in all 12 districts of the state.
The court also directed that organisers of bull fights would have to inform the district collectors concerned three days in advance about the arrangements being made and the collectors would submit the report to the apex court about the events. Earlier, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu contended before the court that the state shall ensure that all safeguards were observed during the event and no injury was caused to a bull or to any person participating in the event. He also assured the court that the authorities should ensure that no discomfiture was caused to the animals during the festival. About 400 such events would be organised in 12 districts of the state.
He also contended that ''jallikattu'' was linked with the religious sentiments of the people and could create serious law and order problems if the ban imposed by the court was not relaxed.
Senior counsel K K Venugopal, appearing for the Animal Welfare Board, however, contended that the event was a blatant violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. He said the sponsors were making the people superstitious by declaring that if a bull fight didn't take place, they would be punished by the local god and it was a state-sponsored cruelty to animals.
He expressed surprise that the state was seeking permission from this court to violate the law of the land, namely the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act.
The government assured the court that medical facilities would be provided at the event.
The court pointed out to Mr Venugopal that, ''bluelines in Delhi kill the people but then the buses are not banned, only action is taken against the erring buses and drivers.'' It also reminded Mr Venugopal that if the provisions of the Act are strictly adhered to, then even horse riding cannot be permitted.