Jallikattu and Its Effect on Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution

 This article covers “Daily current affairs for UPSC” and the topic is about ‘Jallikattu’ which is in news, it covers “Polity and Governance” In GS-1 and GS-2, and the following content has relevance for UPSC. 

For Prelims: Article 29, Article 48, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules of 2017.

For Mains: Socio-political issues regarding jallikattu

Why in news:

A five-member Constitution Bench of the Court will soon rule on a number of petitions that sought to overturn a 2017 law that protected the bull-racing practice known as Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.

About Jallikattu

Jallikattu is a more than 2,000-year-old custom that is both a competitive sport and a celebration of bull owners who raise their animals for mating.

The bull owner gets the prize if the contenders are unsuccessful in taming the bull. It is a brutal sport.

As CulturaLSports: The “Jallikattu belt” in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai, and Dindigul districts is where it is most popular.

Time and event: It is observed during the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal, which falls in the second week of January.

Importance in Tamil Culture: It is seen as a customary means by which the peasant community protects their native bulls of pure ancestry.

Conservationists and peasants contend that Jallikattu is a way to safeguard these male bulls that are otherwise utilized only for meat, if not for plowing, at a time when cattle breeding is frequently an artificial procedure.

Judicial intervention on Jallikattu 

Interventions by the law on this issue: In 2011, the Centre added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition are forbidden.

In response to a petition that cited the 2011 warning, the Supreme Court outlawed the sport of bull-taming in 2014.

When did the present dispute begin?

Jallikattu was outlawed by the Supreme Court in a decision in the Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja case in May 2014.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Ordinance 2017 was brought up by the protesters.

In February 2018, the Court was moved after the Assembly approved a Bill to replace the Ordinance, and the case was then sent to the Constitution Bench.

Issues to be addressed

  • The issue regarding whether It should be protected by the Constitution as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1),
  • A fundamental right is given by Part III of the Constitution to safeguard citizens’ rights to education and culture.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules of 2017 were subject to scrutiny by the court.
  • to determine whether they “perpetuate cruelty to animals” or rather serve to protect “the survival and well-being of the native breed of bulls.”

Supreme Court’s stand:

  • The Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009, which had permitted Jallikattu, was overturned by the court in 2014,
  • the Court had mentioned how bulls were “tortured to the hilt” while doing performances on the occasion.
  • The Supreme Court then considered whether the new legislation was “related” to Article 48 of the Constitution, which commanded the government to make an effort to organize agriculture and animal husbandry along contemporary and scientific lines.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960’s goal of “prevention” of animal cruelty was another question the Constitution Bench considered in relation to the legislation of Karnataka and Maharashtra regarding this issue and bullock-cart races.

The overall analysis of the issue


  • Problem with the game: The Animal Welfare Board of India’s inquiry revealed that “Jallikattu is intrinsically harsh to animals.”
  • Human fatalities: A number of people have been killed or injured as a result of the incident, and there have also been multiple bull deaths.

Animal abuse: Bull handling before release as well as during the competitor’s efforts to control the bull raises questions about animal welfare.

  • Animal cruelty: Before the bull is let out, practices including probing it with pointed objects like sticks or scythes, severely twisting its tail so hard that it could fracture its vertebrae, and biting its tail are used.
  • Animal intoxication: There are other instances of bulls being made to drink alcohol to make them dizzy or being given hot peppers rubbed in their eyes to make them angry.


  • Native breed conservation: According to its proponents, it is not a pastime for leisure but rather a way to support and protect the local cattle.
  • Sangam scriptures mention Jallikattu, which was known to be practiced between 400 and 100 BCE during the Tamil classical period.

Some people think the sport also represents the friendly interaction between humans and animals.

  • Position in Other States for Comparable Sports: Kambala, a similar sport, was saved by a statute established in Karnataka.
  • Bull-taming and racing are still prohibited in all other states, including Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, and Maharashtra, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2014 ban order, with the exception of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where they are still organized.

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