Supreme Court Notified of Need for Urgent Hearing of PETA India’s Review Petition Challenging Jallikattu and Bull Racing Events

Posted on by Shreya Manocha

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider an e-mail petition in favour of hearing petitions filed by PETA India and other animal rights entities seeking prohibition of the following cruel and deadly events: jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, kambala in Karnataka, and bullock cart racing in Maharashtra. The petitions seek a review and reversal of the judgment dated 18 May 2023 passed by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Animal Welfare Board of India vs Union of India and connected petitions. Through this judgment, a bench consisting of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and CT Ravikumar retrogressively upheld the constitutionality of state amendments to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, enabling these bullfighting and racing events to continue.

Jallikattu events have already resumed and are scheduled to take place in parts of Tamil Nadu over the next few months. Senior counsel Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi brought the urgent need to hear the review petitions to the notice of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. The review petitions raise several objections to the 2023 judgment, including the failure of the court to even take note of extensive investigative data showing the cruelty inherent in these events placed on record by PETA India and the retrogression of rights it brought about, considering that this ruling was almost a decade after jallikattu and other bull racing events were banned by the Supreme Court through its landmark judgment in Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja & Ors in 2014.

Over the past six years in Tamil Nadu, jallikattu events have caused the deaths of at least 38 bulls and 115 humans and injured more than 8600 humans and 30 bulls. Since not all bull deaths and human injuries would have been reported, these figures are likely vast underestimates. Alarmingly, in 2024, 29 people have already been reported to have been injured in just one jallikattu event organised at Padukottai in Tamil Nadu, and with more events scheduled to take place, the death toll and number of injuries to bulls and humans is virtually guaranteed to increase.

In 2014, the Supreme Court passed a detailed and well-reasoned judgment in Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja & Ors that holding jallikattu and other bull races would be in violation of the rights guaranteed to animals under the Constitution of India and the PCA. However, after this judgment was passed, beginning in 2017, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra amended the PCA to allow jallikattu, kambala, and bullock cart races, respectively. PETA India and other animal rights organisations object to all three state amendments.

As prey animals, bulls are inherently nervous and fear predation, so men intent on winning cash, cars, and other prizes incite them to run by causing them pain, panic, and fear. PETA India has repeatedly documented that bulls are jabbed with sickles and sticks tipped with nails; their tails are twisted and their tailbones broken; they are yanked by nose ropes, causing their nostrils to tear and bleed; and they are viciously beaten throughout these events.

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