Jallikattu Cannot Be Termed Blood Sport, SC Observation on Pleas Against Bull-taming Sport

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging state laws allowing the taming sport of ‘Jallikattu’ and bullock cart racing.

One of the petitioners, PETA has challenged the Tamil Nadu state law allowing the sport of ‘Jallikattu’. Jallikattu aka eruthazhuvuthal is a bull taming sport played as part of the Pongal harvest festival in Tamil Nadu.

The matter was heard by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph. A bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar asked the parties to submit a collective set of written submissions within a week.

The Supreme Court said that since no one uses weapons in Jallikattu and the blood can be accidental, it cannot be classified as a blood sport. Justice KM Joseph said there can be cruelty in the sport where people do not participate in the act of killing the animal.

“The presence of death does not mean that it is a blood sport. I’m not suggesting that people who are going to participate and get on the bulls go there to get their blood drawn at that event. People will not kill animals. The blood may be accidental,” the constitutional bench said.

The court was responding to the submission of senior advocate Shyam Divan, counsel for some of the petitioners, and emphasized that ‘Jallikattu’ is a blood sport. In his submission, lawyer Shyam Divan cited a research paper on the “blood sport” and said media reports have documented spectators being injured and even gored to death on and off the field of the bull taming sport.

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(with contributions from media agencies)

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