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A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will decide whether Jallikattu, the bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of Pongal festival, can be given the status of a cultural right and be protected.




Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have amended the central law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and allowed Jallikattu and bullock cart racing, respectively. The state laws have been challenged in the apex court.

Supreme Court Judgment

The apex court had earlier dismissed the Tamil Nadu government’s plea seeking a review of the 2014 judgment banning the use of bulls for Jallikattu events in the state and bullock cart races across the country.

The court in its 2014 judgment had said bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country and had banned their use across the country.


Jallikattu, also known Eruthazhuvuthal, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.

Constitutional Question

The court, while reserving its order, had said the larger bench would decide whether states have the “legislative competence” to make such laws on grounds, including that ‘Jallikattu’ and bullock cart racing fell under the cultural rights enshrined under Article 29(1) and can be protected constitutionally.

Constitutional Provision

i) Article 25 -Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.

ii) Article 29(1)- Protection of interests of minorities

Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

iii) List III (Concurrent List)- Both Parliament and the legislature have the authority to make laws on the following –

-Prevention of cruelty to animals

-Protection of wild animals and birds

-Prevention of the extension from one State to another of infectious or contagious diseases or pests affecting men, animals or plants

Legislative Provision

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1960 to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. As per the provisions of the law, the government of India formed the Animal Welfare Board of India.



Source- The Hindu.