Jallikattu: Cultural Practice or Cruelty?

In News

  • A five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court (SC) is going to announce its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking to strike down a 2017 Tamil Nadu law that protects Jallikattu

Key Points

  • Background, Objective & Origin of Petition: 
    • A massive agitation erupted in 2017, demanding that the Central and State governments come up with a law that would annul the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu.
      • It was imposed through a judgment in May 2014 in the Animal Welfare Board of India vs A. Nagaraja case
    • Apart from demanding that the event be allowed again, the protesters had raised the issue of “redeeming Tamil identity and culture.” 
  • Present Scenario:
    • The primary question involved is whether jallikattu should be granted constitutional protection as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1).
      • A fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution to protect the educational and cultural rights of citizens. 
  • Laws involved: 
    • The court examined if the laws perpetuated cruelty to animals” or were actually a means to ensure “the survival and well-being of the native breed of bulls”.
      • The laws are:
        • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 and 
        • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules of 2017.
  • Lens of Harm to Bulls:
    • How bulls were being “tortured to the hilt” in the process of performing for the event. 
    • Whether the new jallikattu laws were “relatable” to Article 48 of the Constitution which urged the state to endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines. 
    • Whether jallikattu and bullock-cart race laws of Karnataka and Maharashtra would actually sub-serve the objective of “prevention” of cruelty to animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.
Jallikattu History: Jallikattu has been known to be practiced during the Tamil classical period (400-100 BCE).It was common among the Ayar people who lived in the ‘Mullai’ geographical division of ancient Tamil Nadu.About: Jallikattu is a bull-taming sport. The festival is a celebration of nature, and thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, of which cattle-worship is part.It is a violent sport: and there is only one winner, man or bull.Traditional event in which a bull such as the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds is released   into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump on the bull’s back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape.Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop.In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags on the bull’s horns.


  • Culture: It is about showcasing the quality of cattle, the breeding skills of cattle rearers, the centrality of cattle in an agrarian economy, and the power and pride they bring to farmers and land-owning castes in rural Tamil Nadu.
  • Article 29(1): Governments at the state and Centre have wrestled with formulating a regulatory mechanism for Jallikattu, and a matter relating to whether Tamil Nadu can conserve it as a cultural right under Article 29(1) of the Constitution.
    • Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
  • Vaadivaasal: Perhaps the best guide to the cultural universe of Jallikattu is C S Chellappa’s brilliant novell, ‘Vaadivaasal’ (Arena), a slim volume written in the 1940s, with a handful of male characters and bulls.

Arguments For and Against Jallikattu

  • For: 
    • In Tamil Nadu, jallikattu is both a religious and cultural event celebrated by the people of the State and its influence extends beyond the confines of caste and creed. 
    • A practice which is centuries-old and symbolic of a community’s identity can be regulated and reformed as the human race evolves rather than being completely obliterated. 
    • Jallikattu is seen as “a tool for conserving this precious indigenous breed of livestock
    • It is intertwined with the sociocultural milieu being taught in high school curriculum so that the significance is maintained beyond generations.
  • Against: 
    • Animal life was inextricably connected to the lives of humans. 
    • Liberty is inherent in every living being, whether it be in any form of life. 
    • There were various media reports about deaths and injuries caused to humans as well as bulls which had taken place in several districts of the State while conducting jallikattu.
    • Extreme cruelty is inflicted on the animals. 
    • There was no material to justify jallikattu as a part of culture. 
    • The critics had equated the event with practices such as sati and dowry, which were also once recognised as part of culture and stopped through legislation.

Way Ahead

  • Any ban on such a practice would be viewed as “hostile to culture and against the sensitivities of the community.
  • Any effort at securing animal welfare will have to be grounded in our own rights as human beings. 
    • If such a reading of Article 21 allows for a kinder, more compassionate society, where animals are treated with dignity, it is perhaps the interpretation that the Supreme Court must prefer. 
  • The court’s venture must be to independently construe Article 21, to see whether a finding that the right partakes freedom to live in a society free of animal cruelty fits with India’s larger constitutional design. 
  • Lastly, How the court chooses to resolve the questions posed to it could come to have a deep bearing on the future of animal rights and safety in our country.

High-Powered Committee on Ladakh

In News

  • Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) constituted a high-powered committee for the Union Territory of Ladakh chaired by the Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Key Points

  • Need of the Committee: 
    • Civil society groups in Ladakh have been demanding protection of land, resources and employment for the past three years after the Article 370 was struck down.
    • The fear of big businesses and conglomerates taking away land and jobs from the local people have contributed to this demand.
  • Functions: 
    • It will discuss measures to protect the region’s unique culture and language taking into consideration its geographical location and strategic importance; 
    • Ensure protection of land
    • Employment for the people of Ladakh; 
    • Strategise inclusive development
    • Discuss issues related to the empowerment of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill District Councils of Leh and Kargil.

Ladakh’s demand of Sixth Schedule

  • About:
    • After its special status was removed, several political groups in Ladakh have been demanding that land, employment, and the cultural identity of Ladakh, should be protected under the Sixth Schedule.
  • Amending LAHDC Act:
    • Ladakh’s only member in the Lok Sabha also demanded constitutional safeguards by amending the Ladakh Autonomous Hill District Council (LAHDC) Act for the protection of land, employment, and the cultural identity of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule.
  • Other issues faced by Ladakh:
    • No decentralisation of power:
      • There had been four MLAs from the region in the erstwhile J&K Assembly; the administration of the region is now completely in the hands of bureaucrats. 
      • To many in Ladakh, the government now looks even more distant than Srinagar. 
    • Changed domicile policy in Jammu and Kashmir: 
      • Also, the changed domicile policy in Jammu and Kashmir has raised fears in the region about its own land, employment, demography, and cultural identity.
    • Limited Finances:
      • The UT has two Hill councils in Leh and Kargil, but neither is under the Sixth Schedule. 
      • Their powers are limited to collection of some local taxes such as parking fees and allotment and use of land vested by the Centre.
  • Recommendation of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes:
    • In September 2019, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes recommended the inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule.
      • The Commission took note of the fact that the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh is predominantly a tribal region in the country.
  • Report highlights of the Parliamentary Standing Committee:
    • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs recently tabled a report in the Rajya Sabha.
    • The report stated that, according to the 2011 Census, the tribal population in the Union Territory of Ladakh is 2,18,355, that is 79.61% of the total population of 2,74,289. 
  • Special Status:
    • The committee recommended that special status may be granted to the Union Territory of Ladakh considering the developmental requirements of the tribal population. 
  • Examining the possibility of fifth or sixth Schedule: 
    • The Committee further recommends that the possibility of including Ladakh in the fifth or sixth Schedule may be examined.

Centre’s opinion

  • Centre is not keen to give any special status to Ladakh stating that the objective for inclusion of tribal population under the sixth schedule is to ensure their overall socio-economic development, which:
    • The UT administration has already been taking care of and 
    • Sufficient funds are being provided to Ladakh to meet its overall developmental requirements. 
    • The Ladakh administration recently increased the reservation for the Scheduled Tribes in direct recruitment from 10% to 45% which will significantly help the tribal population in their development.
More about the Sixth ScheduleWhat is the Sixth Schedule?The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.Application:The Sixth Schedule applies to the Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram (three Councils each), and Tripura (one Council).About ADCs:ADCs have up to 30 members with a term of five years.They can make laws, rules and regulations with regard to land, forest, water, agriculture, village councils, health, sanitation, village- and town-level policing, inheritance, marriage and divorce, social customs and mining, etc. Exception:The Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam is an exception with more than 40 members and the right to make laws on 39 issues.

Supreme Court Expands Scope Article 19

In News

  • Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has effectively extended the ground for seeking rights to freedom of speech against other citizens.


  • Petition: 
    • One of the questions before the court was whether a fundamental right under Article 19 or 21 of the Constitution of India can be claimed other than against the ‘State’ or its instrumentalities?
    • Court replied with a majority ruling leaning towards yes.
  • Court’s order: 
    • The court extended free speech against private citizens, opening up a range of possibilities in Constitutional law.
  • Application of Article 19:
    • Article 19 which guarantees freedom of speech and expression is a right invoked against the state. 
    • Some fundamental rights such as those prohibiting untouchability, trafficking and bonded labour are explicitly against both the state and other individuals.
  • Reasonable Restrictions: 
    • Sovereignty And Integrity Of India,
    • The Security Of The State, 
    • Friendly Relations With Foreign States, 
    • Public Order, Decency Or Morality, Or
    • In Relation To Contempt Of Court, 
    • Defamation, Or
    • Incitement To An Offence.
  • Restriction on Curb: 
    • The right of free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) cannot be curbed by any additional grounds other than those already laid down in Article 19(2).
  • Transformation from state to Citizens:
    • The transformation was from:
      • State to 
      • Authorities to
      • instrumentalities of State to 
      • agency of the Government to 
      • impregnation with Governmental character to 
      • enjoyment of monopoly status conferred by State to 
      • deep and pervasive control to 
      • the nature of the duties/functions performed.
  • Government’s stand: 
    • Puttaswamy case: One of the key arguments by the government was that privacy is a right enforceable against other citizens and, therefore, cannot be elevated to the status of a fundamental right against the state.

Impact of Court’s Interpretation 

  • Obligation: This interpretation could bring an obligation on the state to ensure private entities also abide by Constitutional norms. 
  • Regulation sphere increases to a lot: The questions could hypothetically range from seeking enforcement of privacy rights against a private doctor to seeking the right to free speech against a private social media entity.

Global Scenario utilised by SC for Decision

  • New York Times vs. Sullivan: The US Supreme Court found that defamation law, as applied by the state against The New York Times, was inconsistent with the Constitutional guarantee of the freedom of speech and expression. The SC noted a shift in US law from a “purely vertical approach” to a “horizontal approach.”
    • Approach: A vertical approach provides weightage to individual autonomy, choice and privacy, while the horizontal approach seeks to imbibe Constitutional values in all individuals. 
    • These approaches which appear to be bipolar opposites, raise the age-old question of individual vs. society.
    • A vertical application of rights would mean it can be enforced only against the state while a horizontal approach would mean it is enforceable against other citizens.

Way Ahead

  • No jurisdiction in the world appears to be adopting a purely vertical approach or a wholly horizontal approach.
  • Thus, the approach for such cases should be a mixed one
Article 19Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India guarantees six fundamental freedoms to every citizen of India, namely:Freedom of speech and expression;Freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms;Freedom to form associations, unions or co-operative societies;Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India;Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India, andFreedom to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. Importance of Article 19This freedom is essential because the censorial power lies in the people over and against the Government and not in the Government over and against the people. The freedom of speech and expression is required to fulfil the following objectives :To discover truthNon self-fulfilmentDemocratic valueTo ensure pluralism

Cabinet Approves National Green Hydrogen Mission


  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved India’s Rs 20,000 cr National Green Hydrogen Mission (NGHM).  

National Green Hydrogen Mission (NHM)

  • Genesis: 
    • NGHM is a part of National Hydrogen Mission (NHM) which was announced by the finance minister in the Union Budget 2021-22.
    • The Prime Minister of India also announced the National Hydrogen Mission on India’s 75th Independence Day. 
  • Objectives: 
    • To make India a global hub for the production and export of green hydrogen.
    • To harness green hydrogen energy to fulfill India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • Nodal Ministry:
    • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will formulate the scheme guidelines for implementation of the respective components.
  • Key Components:
    • The NGHM will facilitate demand creation, production, utilization and export of Green Hydrogen.  
    • The Mission will also support pilot projects in emerging end-use sectors and production pathways.  
    • An enabling policy framework will be developed to support establishment of the Green Hydrogen ecosystem
    • A public-private partnership framework for R&D will be facilitated under the Mission. R&D projects will be goal-oriented, time bound, and suitably scaled up to develop globally competitive technologies.  

Significance/Intended outcomes of the NGHM by 2030

  • RE Capacity Enhancement: Development of green  hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum.
  • An associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country
  • Investment boost
  • Employment generation
  • Cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports.
  • GHG Emission Reduction: Abatement of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions and help government in achievement the commitments made at COP 26

What is Hydrogen?

  • About:
    • Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. 
    • Hydrogen is the lightest element and the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all normal matter.
    • It is colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, and highly combustible.
    • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines and as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.
  • Extraction of Hydrogen:
    • Hydrogen exists in combination with other elements. 
    • Hence, for using it as a source of energy, it has to be extracted from naturally occurring compounds like water (which is a combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom). 
    • The sources and processes by which hydrogen is derived are categorised by different colours.

Advantages of Green Hydrogen

  • Creation of export opportunities for Green Hydrogen and its derivatives
  • Decarbonisation of industrial, mobility and energy sectors
  • Self Reliance: Reduction in dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock
  • Make in India, for India: Development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities
  • Creation of employment opportunities
  • Development of cutting-edge technologies

Possible Challenges in harnessing Green Hydrogen

  • Lack of fuel station infrastructure: India will need to compete with around 500 operational hydrogen stations in the world today which are mostly in Europe, followed by Japan and South Korea.
  • Energy-intensive nature of Hydrogen generation process:
    • The technology is in an infant stage and the energy requirement for splitting water or Methane is high. Besides, the whole process is costly at present.
  • High R&D requirement for the newer technology for making the process cheap and operational and scalable. 
  • Multiplicity of regulatory authorities: Involvement of multiple Ministries and Departments causes red tape in government functioning.
  • Risks associated with the transportation of hydrogen: Hydrogen in gaseous form is highly inflammable and difficult to transport, thereby making safety a primary concern.
Case Studies:Global:Japan: Basic Hydrogen Strategy 2017 and plan to develop the international hydrogen supply chain by 2030.South Korea: Hydrogen Economy Development and Safe Management of Hydrogen Act, 2020.Indian:Delhi: Hydrogen Spiked Compressed Natural Gas Buses (H-CNG) i.e. 18% blend of hydrogen with CNG (Plan to have 80% H-CNG buses by 2025)NTPC Ltd is operating a pilot to run 10 hydrogen fuel cell-based electric buses and fuel cell electric cars in Leh and Delhi. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued a notification proposing amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 with safety evaluation standards for hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles.

Way Forward

  • NHM will ensure integration of India’s clean energy supply chains with that of the world
  • Inter Ministerial and departmental coordination necessary for the success of NHM
  • NHM will ensure realization of the goal of making India carbon neutral and global hub of clean hydrogen energy and will have multiplier effects on the $5 trillion economy.

Utkarsh 2.0

In News

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s Medium-term Strategy Framework for the period 2023- 2025  ‘Utkarsh 2.0’ was launched by the Governor of  RBI.

About Utkarsh 2.0

  • The first strategy framework (Utkarsh 2022) covering the period 2019-2022 was launched in July 2019.
  • It became a medium-term strategy document guiding the Bank’s progress toward realisation of the identified milestones.
  • Vision: The Vision in Utkarsh 2.0 that will guide the Reserve Bank of India over the period 2023-25 are:
    • Excellence in performance of its functions;
    • Strengthened trust of citizens and Institutions in the RBI;
    • Enhanced relevance and significance in national and global roles;
    • Transparent, accountable and ethics-driven internal governance;
    • Best-in-class and environment-friendly digital and physical infrastructure; and
    • Innovative, dynamic and skilled human resources.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *