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According to Jallikattu petitioners, the Supreme Court cannot amend an Act that perpetuates cruelty when it prohibits cruelty

It was argued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that an amendment to a Tamil Nadu law that permits bull-taming sport “jallikattu” cannot perpetuate cruelty to animals when the law prohibits cruelty to animals.

“Jallikattu”, also known as “eruthazhuvuthal”, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu during the Pongal harvest festival.

During an argument before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K M Joseph, senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for some of the petitioners, pointed out that the Constitution recognizes cruelty to animals as something that should not be perpetuated.

According to Luthra, in response to a ruling by the apex court in 2014 banning bulls from being used for bullock cart races and “jallikattu” events in the state, the verdict should be overturned to allow bull-taming. The top court argued that in such complex interplay of rights, it would be safer to leave the categorisation of animal rights to the legislature rather than taking on this duty ourselves. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court outlined the rights in its verdict, in which justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and C T Ravikumar were also present.

The bench noted that the majority of the petitions in this matter relating to the enforcement of rights under Article 32 of the Constitution.
It asked. “Whose fundamental rights are we talking about?” it asked.

As part of his submissions during the daylong arguments, senior advocate Shyam Divan, who appeared for the petitioners, alleged that the Tamil Nadu Act amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was “colourable”.

Luthra maintains that since the legislation and legislative entry speak of preventing cruelty, amending the Act will perpetuate cruelty.
Whenever the Constitution acknowledges that cruelty to animals should not be perpetuated, it recognizes the rights of animals.

Following the apex court verdict, the states adopted certain rules in order to ensure safety after amendments were made.

It’s important to know what the rules were when this court was examining it (earlier)? When was the judgement pronounced did these rules exist? ” it asked.
As part of his arguments, Luthra called the amendment allowing “jallikattu” in the state “clearly arbitrariness.”

“You cannot make an amendment that nullifies the purpose of the legislation,” he said.

Wednesday will see the continuation of the arguments.

On November 24, the Constitution bench began hearing arguments on a batch of petitions challenging laws allowing “jallikattu” and bullock-cart races in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

Earlier this month, the Tamil Nadu government told the top court that “jallikattu” is a religious and cultural festival that carries a “religious significance” for the people of the state and does not contravene the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act.

The state has written to the apex court that “jallikattu” is far more than entertainment or amusement, but a significant cultural, religious, and historic event.

The apex court is reviewing the five questions referred to by a two-judge bench in February 2018.

The apex court had referred the issue to the five-judge bench in order to explain that the petitions challenging the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017 require a larger court to decide since they involve substantial constitutional interpretation questions.

The Tamil Nadu government amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to allow “jallikattu” to be practiced. A 2014 judgment of the apex court stated that bulls cannot be used for “jallikattu” events or bullock-cart races, and that their use for these purposes is prohibited throughout the country.

Earlier, the court had rejected the Tamil Nadu government’s request to review its 2014 judgment banning the use of bulls for “jallikattu” in the state as well as bullock-cart races in other parts of the country.

According to the top court, it must be determined whether the amended Act perpetuates animal cruelty or prevents animal cruelty.

A question was asked: “Is it colourable legislation that doesn’t relate to any entry in the State List or Entry 17 of the Concurrent List? “The Tamil Nadu Amendment Act says it’s to preserve Tamil Nadu’s cultural heritage. Is it possible to argue that the Tamil Nadu Amendment Act is part of the cultural heritage of the people of Tamil Nadu for the purpose of receiving protection under Article 29 of the Constitution” reads one of the questions referred to the larger bench.

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