Government should be allowed a degree of flexibility in particular situations: ASG
“For 30 seconds or 15 feet, whichever is longer, the bull runs and is embraced by a tamer.
What is the cruelty in that?” Tamil Nadu government asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The State was arguing in favour of a January 7 Central notification bringing bulls back into the fold of ‘performing animals’ despite the Supreme Court declaring Jallikattu as “inherent cruelty” in a judgment in 2014.
“If I am willing to undertake any steps, any measures, to prevent cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty Act ... what else is the problem?” senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, for Tamil Nadu, submitted before a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Rohinton F. Nariman which reserved the case for final judgment.
Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha, for the Centre, said the court could not indulge in “absolute prohibitionism” in the case of Jallikattu. It had to acknowledge that the government should be allowed a degree of flexibility in particular situations.
“As human beings, it is possible for us to conduct our action away fromdurachara [bad practice] ... Once pain and suffering was inflicted on animals but human behaviour can be changed, modulated. You cannot take away an opportunity for us to change. What if we can change and conduct Jallikattu without causing pain and suffering? A chance should be given,” Mr. Narasimha urged.
Quoting Greek philosopher Plato on the spirit of fraternity, the Centre said how Jallikattu was part of the annual harvest festival celebrated in the State.
“Plato has said that one of the most fundamental things for the existence of a society is fraternity. At Jallikattu venues, people from all parts of the State congregate... You must give us a second chance,” Mr. Narasimha submitted.
Mr. Narasimha said the real test here was whether Jallikattu could be “extricated” from the act of causing undue pain and suffering to the animals. In the previous hearing, the Centre said the tradition of Jallikattu was inextricably linked to the rural life of Tamil Nadu, where villagers could not be expected to shed their centuries-old culture and “go watch Formula One racing.”