After violent protests, Jallikattu Bill passed in Tamil Nadu Assembly

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Chennai: The much-awaited Jallikattu bill seeking to revoke Supreme Court’s ban on the sport, was passed unanimously on Monday in a special session of Tamil Nadu state Assembly. Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam tabled the bill, which would replace his government’s ordinance on the popular bull-taming sport.

Replacing an ordinance promulgated two days ago to allow jallikattu, the Bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was unanimously adopted by the House after members of all parties spoke welcoming the legislative initiative.

The “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017” was piloted by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and adopted by voice vote.

It was deemed to have come into effect on the day the ordinance was issued, January 21, 2017.

The government had promulgated the ordinance in a bid to defuse the raging protests across the state, especially at the Marina Beach, by students and others, demanding lifting of the ban on jallikattu.

The Bill defines jallikattu as an event involving bulls conducted with a view to following tradition and culture from January to May and it includes similar events like ‘manjuviratu’, ‘vadamadu’ and ‘erudhuvidum’ festivals.

It noted that the Supreme Court had held jallikattu as violative of the PCA Act (sections 3, 11, and 22).

The Bill further said, considering the vital role of jallikattu in preserving and promoting tradition and culture among people and also in view of ensuring the survival and continuance of native breeds of bulls, the “Government of Tamil Nadu has decided to exempt jallikattu from the provisions of the PCA Act”.

Paneerselvam explained the legal and factual background that necessitated the amendment bill.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly M K Stalin was among those who spoke welcoming the Bill.

Observing that a “mass movement” and “spontaneous outpouring of emotion” paved the way for lifting of the ban on Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had assured that the bill to replace the ordinance would be “placed” by the state government in the Tamil Nadu Assembly “immediately.”

“The unprecedented and spontaneous outpouring of emotion and sentiment in a completely orderly and peaceful manner by lakhs of youth, supported by common people across the state, has received the solidarity of Tamil people across the globe to conduct Jallikatu and preserve Tamil cultural heritage,” he had said.

In his maiden address to the Assembly in its first session this calendar year, Rao said, “This mass movement has paved the way for lifting the ban on Jallikattu.”

“Considering the situation, the bill will be moved when the House meets at 5 pm today,” Assembly Speaker P. Dhanpal told reporters in Chennai.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Business Advisory Council which decides on the agenda and duration of a particular session of the state Assembly.

The state government, after receiving Centre’s assurance on its support for efforts to conduct the sport, had followed the constitutional route and issued an ordinance amending the relevant provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, Vidyasagar Rao said.

He expressed happiness over the sport being held on Sunday in the state.

The traditional sport, which was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014, was organized in several parts of the state yesterday, following promulgation of the ordinance on Saturday for conducting the bull taming sport.

“As a permanent measure to allow the conduct of Jallikattu, a bill to replace the ordinance will be placed before this august House immediately,” the governor said, as the DMK staged a walkout.

Soon after Rao started his address, DMK members led by their leader MK Stalin rose and sought to raise some issue.

With the Governor continuing to read out his address, they soon staged a walkout. The assembly is meeting for the first time after former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5, 2016.

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