The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a plea challenging Tamil Nadu’s jallikattu law that categorises bulls as performing animals. The Constitution bench of the court is likely to decide whether jallikattu is a cultural right and states can claim protection under Article 29 (1), Bar and Bench reported.
Article 29 (1) is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution that protects the educational and cultural rights of citizens. “Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same,” it states.
“It has never been looked into whether a state can claim constitutional protection under Article 29 (1) for what it thinks is a cultural right,” said Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra noted, according to The Hindu. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said that the court’s decision might have a far-reaching effect. “So far, nobody has plumbed the depths of Article 29 (1),” he added.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly on January 23 unanimously passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill, 2017, that categorises bulls as performing animals and exempts organisers of jallikattu events from penalties. Animal rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals then challenged this law, claiming that it violates earlier court orders.