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Pending Jallikattu Verdict to Fall Apart in SC, Centre Withdraws 2016 Notification

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking to withdraw the January 6, 2016 notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest allowing Jallikattu to be held in Tamil Nadu.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi informed the apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that the Centre is filing an application to withdraw the notification issued on January, last year.

The hearing regarding the challenge to the notification has been going on for almost a year and this month just before Pongal, Tamil Nadu government had filed an interim application in the court to allow the sport to be held, but a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R.
Banumathi declined the request stating that a ‘draft judgment on the challenge to the notification was almost ready’. But as Tamil Nadu got engulfed in massive protests, SC decided to postpone its verdict by another week.

But now with the Centre filing a withdrawal application for the notification, the case is set to lose its genesis and fall apart.

Meanwhile the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, which was passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly allowing the sport of Jallikattu on January 23 exempts Jallikattu specifically under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act) thereby bypassing the 2014 SC ban on the conduct of the bull-taming sport on account of excess animal cruelty.

However even though there were reports of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) challenging the ordinance in the SC soon after it was passed, now a letter issued by the top management of AWBI clarified that “If any petition has been filed challenging the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, on behalf of the AWBI, the same may be withdrawn immediately.”

But Anjali Sharma, Advocate for the AWBI, maintains that it was not a petition challenging the ordinance but only an interim application filed in the current petition.

On 25th January, 2017, I suddenly received a communication from the Secretary requiring me to withdraw any Petition filed against the Tamil Nadu Ordinance. I have not filed any Petition, I have only filed an Interim Application in the existing Petition with the full consent and authority of the AWBI. The Secretary’s letter has no legal sanctity. However, rather than encourage the controversy that has erupted, I will inform the Hon’ble Supreme Court of whatever has occurred,” read Sharma’s statement of clarification.

The court, which had reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the notification, said the concerned bench would take a decision on the withdrawal application of the Centre on January 31.

Today the Supreme Court said all applications challenging Tamil Nadu’s amendment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, allowing the conduct of Jallikattu, will be heard on January 31 by the bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Nariman.