The Law and Justice Ministry has given its approval to a draft amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which will allow the use of animals in traditional cultural practices. The proposed law's provisions include jallikattu, a bull taming sport popular in Tamil Nadu, which the Supreme Court had banned to popular discontent earlier this year.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had sent the draft on June 15, seeking to change section 22 of the Act, which deals with restrictions on exhibition and training of performing animals, reported Livemint. The MoEFCC wants to add a new sub-section to section 22.
“Any animal notified in the official gazette, in exercise of the powers conferred under sub section (II) of section 22 of the Act shall continue to be exhibited or trained as a performing animal, at events, in a manner prescribed the religion of any community, or practiced traditionally under the customs or as a part of the culture, in any part of the country. These events may, inter-alia, include jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Gujarat, etc,” reads the draft amendment.
If the Cabinet passes it, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (amendment) Bill, 2016 may be brought to Parliament in the monsoon session, which starts on July 18, reported The New Indian Express.
The controversy around jallikattu started in January when Supreme Court asked the Tamil Nadu government to stop the traditional bull taming sport. The Environment Ministry on January 7 issued a notification lifting the ban. Soon after, the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory advisory body to the government, had approached the apex court along with other animal right organisations against the Ministry’s decision to lift ban on jallikattu. The Supreme Court had refused to lift the ban.