New Delhi : The legality of the bullfight events, known as Jallikattu as part of Pongal festivities in Tamil Nadu, will be now vetted by a Constitution Bench of five judges.

A similar bullfight game known as Dhirio is played in the villages of Goa despite the Apex Court’s ban.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman on Friday washed its hands off the challenge to a Tamil Nadu law permitting Jallikattu, saying the petitions require authoritative decision on “substantial questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution.”

In the brief order written by Justice Nariman, the Bench set five questions to be examined by the Constitution Bench besides other questions raised in the petitions of the Animal Welfare Board of India and 12 others.

The petitions were originally filed to quash a notification issued by the Centre on January 7, 2016, but amended with some new petitions in 2017 and 2018 also to quash the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu amendment) Act that received the Presidential assent on January 31, 2017.

The Tamil Nadu government had justified the law enacted by the state assembly on the ground that Jallikattu was a custom practised for centuries and could not be curbed by invoking the statutory barriers.

In one of the hearings earlier, the Chief Justice had indicated that the matter may be referred to the Constitution Bench “to resolve the issue once for all.”

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