The Madras High Court has permitted the conducting of Jallikattu, a bull-taming festival. The court has asked the state to ensure implementation of conditions stipulated by the Supreme Court.
As per the order, the District Collectors have been asked to file affidavits after the event. However, the court will decide later on the validity of Centre's notification banning bulls as performing animals.
The order came after Tamil Nadu government assured to ensure safety of bulls and people.
The traditional part of Pongal, Jallikattu, had been objected to strongly by animal rights' activists.
The Supreme Court too had slammed the Tamil Nadu government for a mercenary approach to Jallikattu by allowing the event to run for five months. The court wants the event to last for two months. "Jallikattu has become an industry and people are making money. This is normally done during Pongal. How can you stretch it for five months upto May?" asked the court.
Last year, under pressure from the Animal Welfare Board, the Tamil Nadu government had limited the bullfight run from January to May; organisers were required to deposit Rs 2 lakh as compensation for those injured during the event - a common fallout of the ritual. The Supreme Court had suggested that amount be raised significantly to Rs 20 lakh.
Jallikattu is most popular in the Madurai district and attracts huge local audiences as well as foreign tourists.
The term Jallikattu comes from the term "Salli" kassu (coins) and "Kattu" (meaning a package) tied to the horns of the bulls as the prize money.