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Legal Question Related To Jallikatu The Constitution Drafting Committee had a difficult task of balancing rights and duties in multicultural, diverse country like India while framing its Constitution. The fundamental rights of person have been subjected to reasonable restriction. While fundamental rights were not specifically extended to animals but in a dignified society bound by constitutional values, respect for other living beings is implicit. Whether such fundamental right to life is debatable, nevertheless the law on the subject prohibits certain actions qua animals. The Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is legislation with the aim “to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and for that purpose to amend the act.” Jallikattu or Sallikatu is a traditional sport which is a custom in the villages of Tamil Nadu and symbolizes the indigenous life of the villages, and a sport is played in the celebration of Pongal.
The Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Regulation Act of 2009 which regulate the sport of Jallikattu was struck down by the Supreme Court vide its judgment in Animal Welfare Board of India Vs A. Nagaraja & Ors. as repugnant to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and therefore unconstitutional and condemning the sport of jallikattu and bullock cart race as violative of Section 3, 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(m)(ii) of prevention of Cruelty Act ,and the July 11 of MOEF was upheld1. Also on 7th January 2016 notification was issued by the Central Government in super cession of its earlier notification of 2011 and in effect permitted the use of bulls as performing animals in events like jallikattu and bullock cart races. The notification includes number of safeguards like the place of such an event and event should be traditional and happened annually; proper testing of bulls by the appropriate authority and ensure that they are in good physical condition to be part in the event and any type of drugs are not administered to the bulls in any form. This notification has been challenged where the Hon’ble Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on 7.12.2016. Ministry of Environment and Forest by passing a notification on July 11, 2011 banned the use of various animals including bulls as performing animals. A ban on a practice of cultural importance will not be a solution to prevent cruelty to animals. The traditional sport altogether has its own relevance as a sport raise indigenous cattle breed (Kangayam) and Article 48 under DPSPs clearly mention that State can take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. The Centre has now approved a draft ordinance on Jallikattu by the State of Tamil Nadu, which seeks to exempt Jallikattu from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. An ordinance is also “law” under Article 13(3)(a) of the Constitution of India. (Shri Prithvi Cottons Mills Vs. Broach Borough Municipality & Ors. 1970 SCR (1)358) As a long term solution, a comprehensive law should be envisaged with all necessary safeguards balancing the traditional and indigenous rights of the people of Tamil Nadu. Also providing the detailed scheme which would ensure that the animals are not ill treated and subjected to inhuman and illegal method in the name of sport. To ensure that the law is not called into the question by way of judicial review, it should be kept in the Ninth Schedule.
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