Jallikattu : SC upholds validity of Tamil Nadu law allowing bull-taming sport

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Jallikattu: SC upholds validity of Tamil Nadu law allowing bull-taming sport

Recently, the Supreme Court in one of its judgments upheld the validity of Tamil Nadu government laws allowing Jallikattu.

To allow Jallikattu, the Tamil Nadu government passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules in the year 2017.

Legal battle of Jallikattu

  • Legal battles over animal rights issues began in India in the early 1990s.
  • The training and exhibition of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and dogs was banned by a notification of the Ministry of Environment in the year 1991.
  • Jallikattu first came under legal scrutiny in 2007, when the Animal Welfare Board of India and the animal rights group (PETA) filed a petition in the Supreme Court against Jallikattu as well as bullock cart racing. However, the Government of Tamil Nadu removed this restriction by passing a law in the year 2009.
  • In the year 2011, the central government issued a notification to include bullocks in the list of animals whose training and display is prohibited.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court banned the sport of bull taming based on a 2011 notification.
  • After which the Government of Tamil Nadu allowed Jallikattu again by enacting the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Operation of Jallikattu) Rules 2017. In the year 2018, the Supreme Court referred the Jallikattu case to a constitution bench.


  • Jallikattu is a traditional sport popular in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is mainly popular in the districts of Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul which are also known as Jallikattu belt.
  • It is celebrated during the ‘Tamil harvest festival Pongal’ in the second week of January.
  • Jallikattu is derived from the Tamil word ‘salli kasu’ (coins and kattu), meaning a cloth tied to the horns of a bull as prize money.
  • Jallikattu is an age old tradition. An ancient reference to bull taming is found in a seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, which dates to between 2,500 BCE and 1,800 BCE.
  • This game was also called ‘Eruthzuval’ or ‘hugging the bull’.

Significance of Jallikattu in Tamil culture

  • At a time when ‘cattle breeding’ is often an artificial process, Jallikattu is considered a traditional way by the farming community to preserve their pure-bred indigenous bulls.
  • Conservationists and farmers argue that Jallikattu is a way to protect male animals that are used only for demand when not in ploughing.
  • Popular indigenous cattle breeds used for Jallikattu include ‘Kangayam, Pulikulam, Umbalacheri, Barugur and Malaimadu’.

Source – The Hindu

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