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  •  Supreme Court has declined to review its 2014 judgment banning jallikattu, the popular bull-taming sport held alongside annual harvest festivities in rural Tamil Nadu.
  • The original judgment had drawn on sound legal principles to conclude that the need to prevent cruelty to animals overrides the consideration that conducting the sport was necessary to preserve culture and tradition.
  • More particularly, the court had found that a 2009 State law that sought to regulate jallikattu was repugnant to the 1960 central legislation to prevent cruelty towards animals.
  • The former Act did contain stringent provisions, but animal rights activists contended that the element of cruelty could not be eliminated altogether. D
  • Despite evidence that the game caused distress and pain to the animals, and even led to injuries and occasional fatalities, political leaders in the State and sections of the public often make the claim that jallikattu has cultural and religious significance for the Tamil community.
  • The court has said that, It was unfathomable that there could be a connection between jallikattu and religious freedom. And it was held mainly for human entertainment at the expense of the animal.

About Jallikattu:

  • Jallikattu is considered as part and parcel of Tamil tradition. It is firstly mentioned in Kalithogai, an ancient work of Tamil literature; capture the key ingredients of an exciting bull taming sport. Eru thazhuval (embracing the bull), the precursor to jallikattu was common in ancient Tamil Nadu among pastoral community inhabiting the Mullai (forest) landscape. Later, it spread to other landscapes.
  • Another ancient reference to bull taming is found in a seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, which is dated between 2500 BC and 1800 BC.
  • Ancient paintings of bullfight have been found in Kalloothu Mettupatti near Madurai and Karikkiyur in The NilgirisWhenever a girl child was born in a family, the father bought a cow and a male calf. As the child grew up into a damsel the calf was nurtured to become a ferocious bull. The man who tamed it in a jallikattu won the woman as bride.
  • Though bull taming has its origins in tribal communities, it has been following well defined rules. The sport was held inside a barricaded arena around which women were seated in galleries at vantage points.
  • The beginning and end were announced by tom-tom and the injured were immediately taken away for treatment. More importantly, it was always a one-on-one fight, unlike the modern day ‘free-for-all.


  • If this festival was properly regulated through the judgment of Supreme Court which was passed in 2010, by Animal welfare board, situation could be different.
  • Tradition or culture which allows cruelty on animals should be banned, but only after considering all the alternatives.
  • Jallikatt bulls are added into performing animals list only in 2011, which paved the way for Supreme Court judgment.
  • Jallikattu bulls are maintained at high cost by farmers because traditional society considers it a matter of pride to send bulls to the race.
  • Jallikattu, Manjuvirattu and related events are the lifeline of Pongal, without which it will lose its charm and liveliness. The soul of any society lies in its festivals.

Vishal Thakur By - Vishal Thakur
Posted On - 11/19/2016 12:00:00 AM

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