Jallikattu Row: SC Refers Matter to Constitution Bench

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December 13, 2017

Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohington Nariman on Tuesday reserved their order pertaining to amendments made by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960  namely Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017. The amendments effected by the Tamil Nadu Assembly in January this year allowed the practice of Jallikattu. Jallikattu is a bull taming sport practiced in Tamil Nadu.

In view of the aforesaid amendments allowing the sport, a batch of petitions were instituted in the Supreme Court challenging the amendments on the ground that it resulted in cruelty to animals. The Supreme Court today has referred the matter to a Constitution Bench and stated that “a larger Bench would decide whether States have legislative competence to make such laws on grounds, including that Jallikattu and Bullock cart races fell under cultural rights enshrined under Article 29(1) and can be protected constitutionally.”

The instant case indeed triggers a crucial question of law i.e. the scope Legislative powers of State and judicial fetters on the Legislature. In the case one of the seminal issue is to test the impugned amendments on the touchstone of Article 29(1) of Constitution of India which provides for protection of culture by minorities.