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The Legal Affair

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The Legal Affair

Let's talk Law

The Supreme Court supports Tamil Nadu’s changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and approves Jallikattu

The Supreme Court supports Tamil Nadu’s changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and approves Jallikattu

Factual Background 

In the case of the Animal Welfare Board of India and Ors vs Union of India and ors In January 2016, the Central government released a new notification that excluded bullock cart racing and Jallikkattu from the application of the PCA Act. The Supreme Court eventually heard a case challenging that notification. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 was later passed by the State government. These essentially made it possible for bull-taming sports like Jallikatu to exist. The top court received a challenge to the notification and the changes.


The following were the questions of law were considered by the apex court:

Whether The Tamil Nadu Amendment Act is a measure of prevention of cruelty to animals but does not refer to any Entry in the State List or Concurrent List.

Whether The Tamil Nadu Amendment Act protects the cultural heritage of the people of Tamil Nadu.

Whether The Tamil Nadu Amendment Act is related to Article 48 of the Constitution.

Whether The Tamil Nadu Amendment Act is unreasonable and violates the Constitution.

whether The impugned Tamil Nadu Amendment Act cannot be said to have overcome defects in two judgments.


The counsel for the petitioners submitted that The evidence on file demonstrated that Jallikatu was a bloodsport in which the bulls were compelled to participate despite being unable to do so. It was asserted that Article 14 (right to equality) would be relevant because only specific sports have been allowed to allow animal abuse. Furthermore, invoking cultural rights cannot replace the reasonableness test. Furthermore, it was argued that the President could not have approved the law at all, and the right to dignity was included because people did not want to witness animals being mistreated. It was emphasised that Jallikattu, a fundamental religious practice of every community, does not fall under the protections of Article 25 (freedom of religion).

Supreme Court verdict 

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act) changes made by Tamil Nadu were supported by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which included Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and CT Ravikumar. This allowed for the practice of the bovine sport Jallikattu. According to a Constitutional Bench of Justices, the adjustments have been made to lessen the suffering and grief endured by cattle and to keep the sport alive.

The bench ruled that the state’s actions were flawless. It is a sport for cattle, and participation is permitted under the rules. The act has no connection to the Constitution’s Article 48. Agricultural activities may be incidentally impacted by some sorts of bulls, but in essence, it refers to Entry 17, List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. Further, the Court declared that the laws did not contravene Articles 51A(g) and 51A(h), and as a result, did not violate Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

In May 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that the popular Tamil Nadu ritual of Jallikattu violated both the Prevention of Cruelty (PCA) Act and the rights of the animals involved. The highest court had ruled that Jallikattu, as it is currently practised, has never been a part of Tamil Nadu’s culture or history, specifically with reference to the cultural aspect of the sport.Because of this, the 2009 Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Regulation Act (TNJR Act), which controlled the practice, was repealed.