Under which law has Jallikattu been banned?
Before we begin, Article 51A (G) of the Constitution of India makes it the mandate of every Indian citizen, “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.” While the people see this as a sport that is being conducted for the past two thousand years as a part of tradition, PETA serves animals in respect of our Constitutional mandate, its laws and its Supreme Court. Sec. 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act gives the power to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, under which, in the year 1991, they banned bears, monkeys, tigers and dogs from being exhibited or trained as a performing animals. After complaints from the Indian Circus Organisation, dogs were excluded from the notification under Sec. 22.
In July 2009, in order to regulate the sport as mandated by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the ‘Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009’ was enacted. In the year 2011, the Ministry issued a new notice that included bulls in addition to the list of 1991 in order to ban their exhibition or training as performing animals. The sport, which used to be conducted during the harvest season of Pongal, was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014. Why was it banned? In the case of Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, the Supreme Court held that the sport violated section 3 and 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
While Sec. 3 states that, “It shall be the duty of every person having the care of charge of any animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure the wellbeing of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering.” While Section 11 talks about various forms of cruelty, Sec 11(a) states, “Beating, Kicking, Over-riding, Over-driving, Over-loading, Torturing, Causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals;” and Sec. 11(m)(ii) talks about inciting any animal to fight or bait any other animal with the view of providing entertainment.
However, on January 7, 2016, the central government issued a notification that legalised jallikattu in the light of the 2011 notification by way of regulation and restriction. Following this, there has been a case ongoing in the Supreme Court against the notification, Compassion Unlimited v. Union of India and the outcome is still awaited. Recent developments include the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu writing a letter to the Prime Minister earlier this month urging him to issue an ordinance allowing jallikattu.
Further references and links:
Book a phone consultation with a top-rated lawyer on Lawfarm.