Saturday, March 10, 2007

Madurai Bench permits conduct of `jallikattu'

High Court Bench permits conduct of `jallikattu'

Staff Reporter

Asks organisers to follow a set of guidelines

MADURAI: A Division Bench in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday set aside an order passed by a single judge on March 29 last against the rural sporting events such as `jallikattu' (bull taming), `rekela' (bullock cart) race and oxen race.

Allowing a writ appeal along with a batch of public interest litigation petitions, Justices Dharma Rao Elipe and P.P.S. Janarthana Raja said that it would not be proper to impose a total ban on the events on the sole ground that the animals were subjected to cruelty.

"In such matters, where the interests of the villagers and the animal lovers are pitted against each other, we are of the view that every endeavour should be made by all concerned to strike a proper balance to safeguard the interests of everyone including the animals," the judges said and suggested a set of guidelines to be followed during the events.

The Government may introduce regulatory measures like registration of trained animals, medical examination of bulls by qualified veterinarians before the commencement of the event to ensure that the animals were not intoxicated or administered with steroids or subjected to any cruel treatment of applying chilli powder or mud on their genital parts to make them more aggressive and ferocious. Further, the sporting arena could be demarked and some five to seven youngsters might be allowed to tame a bull at a time.

On the loss of human lives during such events, the judges said they had been informed that the casualty rate had swollen only due to want of immediate medical attention to the injured. It could be reduced to a great extent by ensuring adequate medical facilities near the sporting arena and following other safety measures like capping the horns of the bulls.

"In our opinion, the sporting events should be conducted only during the harvest season, i.e., during January and February, and should not be permitted to be conducted as part of the village temple festivals as per the convenience of the villagers," the judges said and added that the stipulations laid by them were only illustrative.

It was up to the Government to come out with a comprehensive legislation to regulate the events in consultation with organisations like Blue Cross, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and others, the Judges said.

Pointing out that the Government had failed to comply with their earlier directions to pay Rs.1 lakh as compensation to one of the petitioners, the father of a youngster who lost his life while watching `jallikattu' in 2005, the judges ordered the disbursement of the amount within four weeks.

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