The Supreme Court of India today in response to a petition filed by PETA India seeking direction from the court to strike down the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017- that allows jallikattu in the state- issued a notice seeking a reply from the government of Tamil Nadu in four weeks. Appearing for PETA India, advocate Ms. Nitya Ramkrishnan pointed out that since the enactment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017 and the Rules there in January of this year, 15 humans and 5 bulls have died and nearly 2000 humans and 7 bulls were reportedly injured in several jallikattu events held in the state.
In its 7 May 2014 judgment, the Supreme Court of India banned jallikattu, bullock-cart races, and kambala events. The judgement upheld the Constitution of India read with the central Parliament –enacted legislation under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and provided animals with the fundamental right to be treated with compassion and dignity and to be free from unnecessary pain and suffering. In its petition, PETA India pointed out that the Supreme Court already ruled that bulls are not anatomically suited to participate and that inherently cruel practices, such as jallikattu, that cause animals nothing but excruciating fear, pain, suffering, distress, and anguish cannot be purported to promote tradition and culture, the stated intent of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017.
PETA documented crucial observations during jallikattu events in February 2017. These include participants hitting and tackling bulls and twisting and biting their tails; participants and some police officers stabbing and jabbing bulls with sickles and other sharp objects; bulls being deprived of adequate shade, food, and water; dehydrated and exhausted bulls being forced to participate even after they’d collapsed; bulls bleeding from the nose because their nose ropes were handled roughly; frenzied bulls jumping over barricades, injuring bystanders; unauthorised jallikattu events being played outside the designated area, and rampant cruelty to bulls. These observations are part of PETA India’s petition.
In response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Ajay Marathe in which PETA filed an intervention application, the High Court of Bombay recently passed an order stating that it is bound by the observations and views of the 2014 Supreme Court judgment that banned jallikattu, bullock cart races and other uses of bulls in performances across the country.
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