On Tuesday (December 12th) a bench of the Supreme Court held that the petitions challenging the practice of Jallikattu, a bull-taming sport practiced in Tamil Nadu, and, bullock-cart races such as Kambala, practiced in Maharashtra and Karnataka respectively, would be referred to a Constitution Bench. It was held that the Constitution bench would decide whether the practice was a cultural right which enjoyed protection under Article 29 (1) of the Constitution of India. The larger bench would decide whether state legislatures have legislative competence to make law on the subject.
Article 29(1) is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution to protect educational and cultural rights of the citizens.
Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively, argued in support of the state laws and said the law-making powers of state assemblies cannot be curbed.
The bench stated that they would hear the pleas challenging the Karnataka Ordinance allowing Kambala (buffalo races) in the state separately and issued notice on the petitions filed by parties including PeTA and fixed them for hearing after six weeks.
An issue of whether the state laws are in line with the provisions given under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of1960, a central legislation was also raised and will be decided by the larger bench.