TN's Jallikattu Bill on shaky ground as Centre pulls out of litigation

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New Delhi, Jan 25: On Tuesday the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it was withdrawing the notification on Jallikattu. It was clearly a move to pre-empt and adverse order on the issue. The Union government had on January 2 2016 issued a notification by which it allowed the use of bulls, including their exhibition and training as performing animals in Jallikattu with certain conditions.

This notification was stayed by the Supreme Court and a final order on this has been reserved. In the meantime Tamil Nadu passed a bill legalising Jallikattu. The Centre feels that the notification is unnecessary in the wake of the bill being passed. It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide on whether it would allow the notification to be withdrawn or not.

Jallikattu

If the notification is allowed to be withdrawn the case itself becomes infructuous. This would also mean that the centre will not be part of any Jallikattu related litigation in the Supreme Court. The Tamil Nadu government would become the litigant on this issue if there is a challenge to the bill.

What is next?

In the event of this development, the court would take a final call on whether the Centre can withdraw the notification. If the court decides against it, then an order would be passed. If the notification is struck down, then it would clearly have a bearing on the bill passed by Tamil Nadu, if the same is challenged.

The court would go into the legalities of the sport and those challenging the bill can quote from the order. Legal experts say that if the bill is challenged then it is on a very shaky ground. Those challenging the bill would refer to the Supreme Court's order of 2014 which had held that use of bull as performing animals in these events is inherently cruel as they suffer acute stress, strain, fear and distress when forced to participate in such events.

In the SC it was vehemently argued by the centre that Jallikattu was not a performance. It is a sport to test the valour of the participant. The court however had observed that it is inconceivable that the bull, which remains in the "list of performing animals", should be tamed for the purpose of entertainment. The court had also observed that the notification is liable to be struck down.

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