Expressing displeasure over the law and order situation during the jallikattu protests, the Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Tamil Nadu government for not maintaining law and order situation, noting that it is of primacy in a civilised society, media reports suggested. However, in a relief to the state government, the apex court also refused to stay the recent amendment to the PCA by the Tamil Nadu Assembly, which allowed jallikatu to be played across the state.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea which sought a stay on the amendment permitting jallikattu. The bench, however, took exception to the manner in which the verdict was openly defied. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Nariman told the senior counsel appearing for Tamil Nadu government, said: "We are only concerned with the court's honour, which we all share."
Further, the apex court also allowed the Centre to withdraw its 7 January notification to allow jallikattu, while permitting animal rights outfits and individuals to modify their pending pleas against the sport accordingly.
#Jallikattu matter: Supreme Court slams Tamil Nadu for not following law and order during the protests
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 31, 2017
The latest development also comes after the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday announced a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances leading to the violence during the recent pro-jallikattu stir at the Marina and elsewhere and the alleged police excesses. In a suo motu statement in the Assembly, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said the commission would be headed by a retired high court judge and complete the probe in three months.
He also announced withdrawal of cases against students, who had spearheaded the week-long protests earlier this month at Marina Beach and elsewhere across the state, demanding lifting of the ban on the bull taming sport.
"In continuation of protests seeking nod for bull taming sport jallikattu, law and order problems happened in Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore on 23 January and other areas and a Commission of Inquiry will be set up to enquire into the reasons and circumstances for it," Panneerselvam said.
Spelling out the terms of reference, he said the Commission will probe if the police had used appropriate force over the protesters, and if it was proportionate to the circumstances, and the damage to public and private properties.
"It will enquire if there had been excesses in police action and if it had been so, the Commission will advise on the action to be taken," he said adding recommendations will also be made to avert such situations in the future.
The Commission will conclude its inquiry in three months and submit its report to the government.
Noting that the police cyber crime wing was looking into alleged involvement of some police personnel in illegal activities like torching incidents, he said, "At the conclusion of such probe, if the was confirmed that such police personnel indulged in such activities, stern action will be taken."
He also announced withdrawal of cases filed against 36 students, "considering their future". "Legal steps will be taken immediately to fully ease out students from the cases," he added. Opposition parties, including the DMK, have slammed the police for lathicharging the protesters and also sought a probe into alleged police excesses.
The matter has also been taken to the Madras High Court where PILs have been filed seeking a probe, with the former issuing notice to the government for its reply.
In January 2016, the Centre issued an ordinance lifting the ban on jallikattu with certain restrictions, which was challenged in the apex court by Animal Welfare Board of India, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, and others. Following this, the Supreme Court stayed the central government's notification taking strong objection to it as it was aimed at negating a Supreme Court order.
In May 2014, the Supreme Court had upheld the constitutional status for rights of animals like citizens quashing the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009. Taking cognisance of the natural behavioural patterns of the animals, the apex court bench ruled that jallikattu and all such similar sports are cruel towards animals and therefore should be banned.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jan 31, 2017 18:21 PM