The centre, President and the Tamil Nadu governor give their assent
~By Sujit Bhar
Efforts by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to cool the fiery sentiments of millions in his state over the banning of the traditional sport Jallikattu have finally paid off. Late on Friday, January 20, the centre said okay to the draft ordinance prepared by the state government, and it was later cleared by President Pranab Mukherjee and signed by Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
Sometime before that, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had pleaded with the Supreme Court to delay its judgment on the sport for “at least a week”, so that “huge unrest” in the state could be dealt with peacefully. Rohatgi pleaded: “If this court pronounces the judgment in one way or another, it (the judgment) would inflame passions… there is already social unrest in the state. The centre and the state are in talks to find a way out in the matter and our request is that the court should not deliver the judgment and hold back for a while.”
Justice Dipak Misra agreed to this appeal.
Petitioners in December 2016 had challenged in the court the central government’s notification in January last that allowed bulls to be used in the sport.
In December, the court had reserved its judgment on that appeal, but the bench headed by Justice Misra had issued an interim order on January 13 last year, staying that notification of the Centre. This meant that the Supreme Court order of 2014 banning Jallikattu remained in force. This created the explosive situation seen today across Tamil Nadu, especially in Chennai.
The ordinance of the Tamil Nadu government intends to make an exception for bulls in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Panneerselvam was extremely pro-active in this effort. He stayed back in Delhi till Friday, overseeing the wording of the draft ordinance. His officials moved the several ministries and consulted experts to put these bulls off the list of performing animals in the state.
A middle-path solution was arrived at, resulting in the draft ordinance.
Lead picture: Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam and PM Modi with the jallikattu ordinance in New Delhi. Photo: UNI