GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions
- The Supreme Court recently upheld the modifications made by the Tamil Nadu Assembly as well as the cultural significance of Jallikattu.
- Jallikattu is a sport for taming bulls that has traditionally been a part of the Pongal festival.
- The Pongal festival is a celebration of nature and a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, which includes cattle-worship.
- Contests in the neighboring villages of Avaniapuram, Peelamedu, and Alanganallur establish the tone for the season, which continues until April.
How is it played?
- The elite Jallikattu bloodlines test the strength and cunning of farmhands in specially constructed arenas.
- It is a violent sport with only one victor, bull or man.
What is the conflict?
- It emphasizes the quality of cattle, the breeding skills of cattle rearers, the importance of livestock in an agrarian economy, and the power and prestige cattle bring to farmers and land-owning castes in rural Tamil Nadu.
Act of cultural resistance to urban modernity
- For agrarian communities like Thevars and Maravars, Jallikattu is one of the few indicators of their social standing and identity in a world that is rapidly changing.The competition, which obviously glorifies masculinity, is almost an act of cultural resistance against an urban modernity that tends to marginalize rural and agrarian values.
Debate around the sport:
Arguments in favour of the sport:
The political economy of Jallikattu
- It focuses on highlighting the quality of cattle, the breeding skills of cattle rearers, the centrality of cattle in an agrarian economy, and the power and prestige cattle bring to farmers and land-owning castes in rural Tamil Nadu.
Act of cultural resistance to urban modernity
- For agrarian communities like Thevars and Maravars, Jallikattu is one of the few indicators of their social standing and identity in a world that is rapidly changing.
- The competition, which obviously glorifies masculinity, is almost an act of cultural resistance against an urban modernity that tends to marginalize rural and agrarian values.
Arguments against the sport:
Harming both bulls and humans
- The practice of Jallikattu has been contested for a long time, with animal rights groups and the courts concerned about issues of animal maltreatment and the bloody and dangerous nature of the sport, which causes death and injuries to both bulls and human participants.
View of the Supreme Court and the Upanishads
- In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, “supersedes or supplants the so-called tradition and culture.”
- The court drew upon Upanishad wisdom and advised Parliament to “elevate animal rights to the level of constitutional rights in order to protect their dignity and honor.”
- “Numerous individuals beat, poke, prod, harass, and leap on bulls. Their tails are bitten and twisted, and their eyes and nostrils are filled with irritating chemicals, according to the ruling.
Legal battle over the sport :
Ban of 2014
- In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that Jallikattu is inhumane to bulls in the A. Nagaraja judgment.
- The source of contention is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules of 2017, which reopened the doors for the conduct of the popular bull-taming sport in the name of culture and tradition despite a 2014 ban by the Supreme Court.The primary issue was whether or not Jallikattu should be protected as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1).
State government’s response
- In response to the prohibition, the State government amended the federal Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, in its application to the State and received the President’s approval.
Supreme Court’s current judgement :
- The verdict of the five-judge Bench is based on two critical findings: o The 2014 decision was based on the fact that the new regulations minimize the game’s potential for cruelty and pain; These conditions are no longer prevalent.
- Second, the Court has adopted the view of the legislature that jallikattu is an annual sport performed in observance of tradition and culture.
- The Court has adopted the legislative understanding of what constitutes cultural heritage, holding that it cannot conduct such an investigation.However, this does not mean that the Court has in any way weakened the portion of the earlier Bench’s verdict that incorporated the full incorporation of international animal rights regulations into Indian law.
- Rather, it has deferred to the cultural sentiment underlying the legislative scheme that does not prohibit jallikattu, kambala, a buffalo race in Karnataka, or bullock-cart racing in Maharashtra.
- The ruling means that organisers and respective governments are still responsible for preventing the infliction of suffering and cruelty on animals.
- These sports also pose an undeniable risk to humans, primarily to the participants, but occasionally to spectators as well.
- It may be time for event organizers to mandate protective gear for participants and rigorously enforce rules for adequate barricades to ensure the safety of spectators.
- Cultural assertion, animal compassion, and adherence to safety standards are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
|Constitutional provisions protecting animal rights in India:
Article 29 (1)
· Part III of the Constitution guarantees Article 29 (1) as a fundamental right to safeguard the educational and cultural rights of citizens.
· Article 48 of the Indian Constitution is one of the Directive Principles that instructs the state to prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves, and other milch and draught cattle.
· It also states that agriculture and animal husbandry should be organized along modern and scientific lines.
Article 51 A (g)
· According to Article 51 A (g), every citizen has a fundamental obligation to protect and enhance the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and animals, and to have compassion for all living things.
· In 1976, the 42nd Amendment established these Constitutional provisions.
Daily Mains Question
[Q] What is the significance of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Jallikattu and similar bull-taming sports in India? How can the safety of animals and humans involved in these pursuits be maintained?