The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the bull-taming sport jallikattu, which is practised in Tamil Nadu, may be 5,000 years old, but whether it can continue will be decided by the judiciary, reported NDTV. The apex court bench's remark came in reply to the state's contention that the sport should be allowed because it is a centuries-old tradition in the region.

"In 1899, 10,000 girls below 12 years of age were married. Should we allow it today because it was a tradition at that time?" the court said among other scathing remarks. Terming the case a "constitutional and statutory issue", the bench said it will examine whether the sport is legally permissible. The final hearing in the case will be held on August 23.

The bench was hearing pleas filed by animal activists against the central government's decision to allow the sport to continue in the state. Jallikattu is traditionally played in Tamil Nadu during the Pongal festival. It is one of many animal-related practices that tend to go hand-in-hand with harvest festivals in parts of the country.