Jallikattu - The Hindu - 06/01/23

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reserved for judgment a batch of petitions seeking to strike down a Tamil Nadu law which protects Jallikattu by claiming that the bull-taming sport is a cultural heritage of the State and is protected under Article 29 (1) of the Constitution.
-Jallikattu is a traditional sport that is popular in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
-The sport involves releasing a wild bull into a crowd of people, and the participants attempt to grab the bull's hump and ride it for as long as possible, or attempt to bring it under control.
-It is celebrated in the month of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.

->Associated Concerns:
-The primary question involved was whether Jallikattu should be granted constitutional protection as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1).
-The court examined if the laws “perpetuate cruelty to animals” or were actually a means to ensure “the survival and well-being of the native breed of bulls”.
-The five-judge Bench heard parties on whether the new Jallikattu laws were “relatable” to Article 48 of the Constitution, which urged the state to endeavor to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.

->Argument in Favour:
-In Tamil Nadu, jallikattu is both a religious and cultural event celebrated by the people of the State and its influence extends beyond the confines of caste and creed.
-“A practice which is centuries-old and symbolic of a community’s identity can be regulated and reformed as the human race evolves rather than being completely obliterated,” the State government submitted.

->Arguments in Opposition:
-The petitioners’ line of argument was that animal life was inextricably connected to the lives of humans. Liberty was “inherent in every living being, whether it be in any form of life,” an aspect that had been recognized by the Constitution.
-The Tamil Nadu law was brought to circumvent the ban on jallikattu imposed by the Supreme Court.

->Position in Other States for Similar Sports:
Karnataka too passed a law to save a similar sport, called Kambala. Except in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where bull-taming and racing continue to be organized, these sports remain banned in all other states including Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra due to the 2014 ban order from the Supreme Court.

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