New Delhi. The Supreme Court today stayed the Centre’s notification lifting ban on controversial bull taming sport Jallikattu during the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu. “As an interim measure, we direct that there shall be stay of notification dated January 7, 2016 issued by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF),” a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana said. The bench also issued notice to the MoEF and Tamil Nadu on petitions filed by various bodies including Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) seeking striking down of the Centre’s notification and sought their replies within four weeks.
Earlier during the day, a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur referred the petitions to the present bench as one of the judges Justice Banumathi, who hails from Tamil Nadu, rescued from hearing the batch of petitions. The Centre’s notification lifting ban on Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu was challenged in the Supreme Court yesterday by AWBI, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and a Bangalore-based NGO. The four-year-old ban on holding of Jallikattu was lifted on January 8 by the Modi government in poll-bound Tamil Nadu with certain restrictions. The decision to allow Jallikattu along with bullock cart races in other parts of the country, had come through a government notification despite strong objections by animal rights groups. Jallikattu also known Eruthazhuvuthal is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.