The Nature of Judicial Power: Bovine Sports

Division Bench of this Court in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547 had essentially outlawed Jallikattu and Bullock Cart Race. These bovine sports were held to be contrary to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. A. Nagaraja found, bulls, to be non-suitable for being involved in any sports, having no natural inclination for running like a horse. The time A. Nagaraja was delivered cannot be equated with present situation. The Tamil Nadu Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules, 2017 and The Maharashtra Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Bullock Cart Race) Rules, 2017 seek to rigidly regulate conducting aforesaid bovine sports. These instruments in substance prohibit causing any physical disturbance like beating and poking with sharp objects/sticks, pouring chilli powder, twisting tails. We are satisfied, large part of pain inflicting practices have been substantially diluted.  

We cannot proceed in exercise of assuming, law ought to be struck down on apprehension of its abuse or disobedience. We should not take up a balancing exercise ought to be left for Legislature to decide upon.  

Hon’ble Justice Aniruddha Bose, Animal Welfare Board of India v. Union of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 23 of 2016].