On Tuesday, the Supreme Court judges were asking a slew of questions to Tamil Nadu’s lawyers on their recent bill that legalised Jallikattu when attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi, who was representing the Centre in the court, stood up to defend the ancient bull-taming sport.

b’Mukul Rohatgi / PTI’

Here’s what he said, as per Hindustan Times:

“Goats are sacrificed throughout the country during a festival. It is done for halal and all such things. This is done because the law – the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) – permits it to do so. But, a holistic approach is required to be taken.” 

Rohatgi may not have named the festival but it’s widely known that it’s Bakri-Eid when goats are slaughtered, in a manner permissible (halal) in Islam.

Later, Rohtagi told the Telegraph that he had no intention of targetting any religion. He said:

“I only gave an example. Sacrifices of animals are done by Hindus and other religions. I am not talking anything about Muslims or Hindus. These are examples which are protected by Section 28 of the act. No matter whether you are a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, no matter who you are. Firstly, I said religious sacrifices.”

The court was hearing Centre’s plea to withdraw its January 8, 2016 notification which had tweaked a July 2011 environment ministry diktat of adding bulls to the list of animals banned from being exhibited as performing animals.

The court allowed the Centre to withdraw this notification which has become redundant after Tamil Nadu recently passed a law allowing Jallikattu.

What next?

The attorney general said the Constitution calls for preservation of culture conservation pf animal breeds. 

The SC will now examine whether Jallikattu could be categorised as a cultural practice.