A Constitution bench will consider the validity of the Tamil Nadu law that exempts organisers of jallikattu events from penalties, the Supreme Court said on Friday. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice RF Nariman said the Constitution bench would consider five questions on the matter, Bar and Bench reported.

On December 12, 2017, the court had said it might refer to a Constitution bench the question whether jallikattu is a cultural right and states can claim protection under Article 29 (1) of the Constitution. The article, a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution, protects cultural rights of citizens.

In January 2017, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had unanimously passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill, 2017, which categorises bulls as performing animals and allows jallikattu events. Animal rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals then challenged this law, claiming that it violates earlier court orders.

Maharashtra had amended a similar law in April 2017 to allow bullock cart racing.

On December 12, the Supreme Court had reserved its order, and said the larger bench would decide whether states have the “legislative competence” to make laws on such matters. The Tamil Nadu government, represented by advocate Mukul Rohatgi, argued in the court that 80% of the population of the state support jallikattu, The Hindu reported.