Supreme Court Slams Tamil Nadu On Jallikattu Protests, But No Stay On New Law

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Thousands of protesters had assembled at Chennai's Marina beach demanding the ban on Jallikattu be lifted


New Delhi/Chennai:  Tamil Nadu's recent law to bring back Jallikattu bypassing a Supreme Court ban was spared today but the top court ripped into the state over the massive protests that forced extraordinary measures to restore the ancient bull-taming tradition.

"Law and order situation is the primacy in a civilised society. Convey this to your executive to maintain law and order. We passed a stay order one year ago. Why these protests now?" the court questioned the Tamil Nadu government, referring to the massive protests on the Marina Beach in Chennai and other parts of the state.

The protests were against a Supreme Court ban on the sport in 2014. Last year, the centre's notification to skirt the ban was also put on hold by the court. The central government this week asked for the court's permission to withdraw its notification, since Tamil Nadu now has a law that allows Jallikattu.

"We are governed by the rule of law. These kind of things should not happen," said the court which, however, refused to put the law on hold.

Responding to the sharp criticism, Tamil Nadu said the protests didn't violate any law and were in tune with people's right to protest peacefully.

To which, the court said, "Nobody says people can't fight for a better law. Why so much commotion? We are concerned only with preserving Supreme Court orders."

Amid massive protests across the state in favour of bringing back the sport that activists say is animal cruelty, the Tamil Nadu government put out an ordinance or special order earlier this month to bypass the Supreme Court's ban. The ordinance was replaced by a law after the state assembly's approval.

The state's move was challenged by NGOs who said in the Supreme Court that only the centre has the power to make changes to the law.

Jallikattu was banned after activists said that it constitutes extreme animal cruelty in the sport that involves young men wrestling with bulls to celebrate the harvest.

Before they are released in the middle of the crowd, bulls are allegedly prodded with sharp sticks and tortured with chilli powder, and their tails are twisted to keep them agitated.

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