Apex court bans Tamil Nadu’s post-Pongal bull fight till Feb 13 (Lead)

January 30th, 2009 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday temporarily banned - till Feb 13 - Tamil Nadu’s post-Pongal traditional sport Jallikattu involving bullfights.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam banned the traditional sport directing that no district administration would permit holding of the sport till Feb 13.

The bench banned the sport on a plea by the Animal Welfare Board (AWB), which said that despite the apex court’s order last year to hold the sport “only under precautionary and safety measures”, the annual event resulted in 21 deaths during January alone.

Appearing for AWB, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the bench that more than 1,640 people were injured in the traditional post-Pongal sport involving bullfights.

The bench, while temporary banning the sport, also asked the Tamil Nadu government to respond to the board’s plea to ban the sport permanently.

The apex court last year had allowed holding of Jallikattu under several precautionary and safety measures.

But the AWB raised a renewed plea on Jan 7 to ban it contending that despite its last January’s order to hold the traditional sport under various precautionary and safety measures, the annual event resulted in widespread injuries, both to humans and animals.

The traditional Tamil Nadu sport involves taming of the bulls, who are first made to drink liquor and then chilly powder thrown in their eyes to make them furious and excited.

The annual sporting event, besides leading to injuries to both humans and animals, often turn fatal for them.

The apex court bench, headed by the Chief Justice last year on Jan 15, had temporarily allowed the holding of the post-Pongal event, bowing to the immense popular pressure from central and state governments.

While allowing the event temporarily under several security measures, the apex court had said that it would take a final decision on the desirability of continuing with the age-old tradition later.

Various security and safety measures prescribed by the apex court last year for holding the bullfight included erection of a double barricade around the enclosure to separate the participants from the spectators and provision for distinct dress for participants.

The court had also directed the presence of animal welfare board officials and other responsible government officers at the site of the sporting event to ensure that no injury or cruelty is inflicted upon the animals.

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