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SC says no to Jallikattu

January 30, 2009 18:09 IST

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The Supreme Court on Friday put the brakes on the 400-year-old traditional bull-taming sport of Jallikattu, organised in Tamil Nadu as part of Pongal celebrations, saying guidelines to prevent cruelty against animals have been violated.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan directed the district collectors in the state not to give permission for holding Jallikattu.

"We are not in its favour," the bench said after senior advocate K K Venugopal showed photographs relating to the event in which 21 people died and 1,614 were injured.

Venugopal, appearing for the Animal Welfare Board, which had last year filed a petition against the holding of such an event, said all guidelines have been ignored by the organisers who started holding the event on January 14 and will continue till mid-February.

However, counsel appearing for Tamil Nadu sought two weeks' time for countering the allegations.

The apex court on January 15 last year had permitted holding of Jallikattu on the condition that the authorities will ensure that animals would not be subjected to cruelty. The permission for holding the event was granted after Tamil Nadu government had said there were elaborate guidelines to prevent cruelty against animals and to ensure elaborate security arrangements.

The court had directed the district authorities to take all precautions to prevent injury to spectators or animals. It said any organisation or club which intends to hold Jallikattu will have to inform the concerned district collector three days prior to the event and the officials of the Animal Welfare Board will have to be allowed to witness the event under security.

The administration was asked to make arrangement for the presence of a veterinarian at the place of the event. The event is organised at around 400 places and the court last year had passed interim order for Jallikattu.

In earlier hearings also, the apex court had described the bull-taming sport as "barbaric" and "inhuman". Before passing the interim order, the court had only allowed the Rekla race involving bullock carts under the supervision of the authorities.

The Board had said bull fight was in a violation of section 11(1)(a) of the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act and it was the duty of the state to prevent such events.

The Board had said there was no doubt that it was an age-old practise but if it takes place in violation of law it must be stopped. It had appealed against the decision of the division bench of Madras high court which set aside the single bench order banning the event during the festival season of Pongal.

The Board had said before the event the bulls are made to drink alcohol and chilli powder was sprinkled into their eyes to make them ferocious and they are chased for several kilometres.

The advocate said owners of bulls leave their animals into a boisterous crowd and people jump over their hump, others try to catch them by their horns while some pull their tails.

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