This Article is written by Hitakshi Maggo from Fairfield Institute of Management and Technology.


Jallikattu is a type of sport with a use of bulls which was played in Tamil Nadu on the occasion of Pongal that’s why it is also known as Mattu Pongal. It was played as a part of celebrating Pongal, a harvest festival. There are three ways to celebrate this kind of festival, firstly where a person needs to hold a bull for predetermined distance or time to win the bride or price which was tied with bull, secondly participant attempt to control the angry bull in an open ground, thirdly where a bull tied to a 50 foot long rope and players attempt to overpower it within a specific time limit. Jallikattu comes from ‘Calli’ and ‘Kattu’ which means coins and packages.

By this you can understand that Jallikattu is a sport which is played for the bride or to win the bride. But due to this activity or event bulls were subjected to cruelty and that’s why Animal Welfare Board of India filed a complaint in Supreme Court to ban such activities which result in cruelty with animals and the violation of the article of constitution. Like under Article 51 A (g) & (h) clause for protecting animals, 51(g) states that it is our fundamental duty to protect our environment and to improve our natural environment like forests, wildlife, lakes, rivers and to have compassion for living creatures (like, bulls) and Article 51(h) states that, it is our fundamental duty to develop the scientific temper humanism, and the spirit of enquiry and reform. According to Section 3 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it is stated that it is the duty of the person in charge of an animal to take care of that animal and to take reasonable measures to protect them. It must be noted that Section 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act also tells us about the way people are cruel towards animals which is considered very wrong and immoral in the society and should be penalized. These are some sections which are proved to be the major source for banning Jallikattu sport under this case which is also known as Jallikattu case (Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagaraja). Under this event, bulls were exhibited or trained as a performing animal for the public which is clearly a violation of Article 22 of the Constitution of India.


This case starts with the two sets of challenges, on one hand it challenges the validity of Tamil Nadu Registration of Jallikattu Act wherein the division bench judgment of Madras High Court had been challenged with few writ petitions on the ground challenging the validity of Minister of Environment and Forests dated 11.07.2011 and on the other hand judgment of Bombay High Court upholding the notification given by Minister of Environment and Forests. This case basically tends to maintain the rights of animals and brings up the issue of misusing the animals for religious purposes. Basically, under this case the Animal Welfare Board of India decided to ban the use of bulls for sports named as Jallikattu. Initially, the Single Bench banned this sport subjecting it to cruelty with animals but later the Division Bench in another appeal overruled the banning order of single bench and granted permission to celebrate or to organize Jallikattu with certain specific conditions. After this there was an issue that arose due to the conducting of sport Jallikattu the spectator was injured, and many more incidents occurred where bulls suffered with cruelty and for this purpose.

Later, Animal Welfare Board of India filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the order of permission for conducting Jallikattu and said that it was subjecting to cruelty with animals but on the other hand respondent defend it by saying that Jallikattu is a traditional sport of Tamil Nadu and should not be banned. The Supreme Court passed an order to recognise the validity of Animal Welfare Board Of India notification and rights of bulls under the Prevention of Cruelty of Animal (PCA) and the constitutional validity of this sport Jallikattu.


The main issues raised under this case were as follows:-

  • Whether the sport that is being organized and conducted in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are under the violation of section 3,11(1), 21 and 22 of the PCA Act?
  • The validity of Jallikattu with respect to the article 51 A (g) (h) of Constitution of India and the notification dated 11.07.2011.


Federation of India Animal Protection Agencies and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had been protesting against this sport Jallikattu since 2004. In 2008, Animal Welfare Board of India filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to ban Jallikattu and thereafter in 2009,Tamil Nadu Government made a law to regulate Jallikattu for revoking the ban on Jallikattu. In 2013, after so many incidents PETA reported that despite having regulations on Jallikattu and Tamil Nadu act, the cruelty with bulls or animals continued and gravely pleaded the Supreme Court to Ban this festival.

The arguments were mostly based upon some traditional reasons wherein people found to be adamant to stick on to their customs and tradition to celebrate this festival. They celebrate Jallikattu as a most important part or tradition of Tamil Nadu identity. The people were of opinion that following our customs is our right.Under this circumstances they specifically stated that it is our custom and not entitled to harm anyone which is not correct according to the report submitted by AWBI around 43 peoples lost their lives in between 2008-2014 which was a biggest harm due to this festival not only human suffers but animals are also suffering from cruelty. Hence, it does cause harm to the bulls and people involved in Jallikattu. A large section of people come to this event which results in danger to their lives. From a constitutional point of view, Tamil Nadu people argue that this is their cultural right and demand protection under article 29 of the Constitution of India which is totally not valid because this festival leads to the cruelty with animals and violates the articles of Constitution of India and PETA act which protects the rights of animals. The Supreme Court held that:-

  1. That Government should take effective measures in educating humans in relation to their way of treating animals in accordance with Article 51 of the Constitution.
  2. That parliament was expected to take corrective measures by amending in Section 11 and by penalizing those who create cruelty with animals.
  3. That AWBI was directed to take corrective measures in implementing the PETA act properly and if noticed any cruelty or violation in relation to the notification will inform the government and they will take effective measures to solve the problem.
  4. That AWBI and Government was directed to make sure that there will be no pain anymore caused to animals in relation to any events.

Thereafter, On May 7, 2014 Supreme Court passed a landmark Judgment in favour of PETA and the Animal Welfare Board of India stating that bulls should not be used in Jallikattu as this leads to cruelty with animals and violating their rights under Constitution of India. And set aside the judgment of Madras High Court and upheld the notification dated 11.07.2011 and judgment of Bombay High Court.


Under this case, the Article 51 of the Constitution was used very well which is related to fundamental duties which we should follow. In my opinion, people will come up for the demand of their fundamental rights if something went wrong but no one says anything if he/she omitted to complete their fundamental duties which may result in someone else’s harm. Likewise, in this case, due to the irresponsibility of Tamil Nadu people,animals were suffering. According to me, this judgment is correctly held as it is our responsibility and primary duty to protect animals and take care of them. it is a harm at large which can also be called a nuisance. Due to this, bulls also suffered harm because of their techniques of celebrating Jallikattu. According to the research, it is examined that there is an ill use of animals at Jallikattu occasions in Alamgantham where bulls are tied so tightly that they become confused and feel uneasiness and agony. They were being hit by hands, having pulled and also being bounced and wrestled on the ground which is inhumane.It is the duty of the Supreme Court to protect animals from this kind of cruelty. Here I pose a question- If someone forcefully tied you with something and tried to hit you what would you do? You will suffer and demand justice. In my opinion, the judgment on said case is correct as it provide justice to animals because they also have lives and have right to live with utmost dignity.In my suggestion, there should be proper maintenance and implementation of this judgment in its true letter and spirit and people should be aware and educated in relation to the provisions that regulate the rights of the animals.