Judgement Matrix: Challenge to JallikattuChallenge to the Practice of Jallikattu
The Supreme Court on May 18th, 2023, in the Animal Welfare Board v Union Of India case, upheld the practice of Jallikattu as per the 2017 Tamil Nadu Amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The case was heard by a Constitution Bench led by Justice K.M. Joseph over six days in November and December, 2022. Justice Aniruddha Bose authored the unanimous Judgement.
In May 2014, in Animal Welfare Board of India v A. Nagaraja (2014), the Supreme Court banned Jallikattu and bullock-cart racing. It held that the practices caused unnecessary pain and suffering, and subjected bulls to cruel treatment as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA Act). However, this ban was undone through a Union government notification in January 2016. The notification allowed the practice, but imposed several additional restrictions that must be adhered to while organising Jallikattu events.
One year later, in January 2017, the Tamil Nadu government enacted an Amendment to the PCA Act, allowing Jallikattu and introducing rules to govern its organisation and practice. The Maharashtra and Karnataka Legislatures enacted similar Amendments to the PCA Act to allow bullock-cart races. A group of animal rights activists and organisations challenged the Union notification at the Supreme Court, as well as both Amendments after their enactment.
In February 2018 a Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R.F. Nariman referred the case to a 5-Judge Constitution Bench to decide if Jallikattu and other bull-taming sports are constitutionally protected under Article 29 as cultural practices.