Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu today invoked Constitution amendment to nullify the Supreme Court order in the Shah Bano case as a possible way out to allow jallikattu, which was banned by the apex court recently.
Venkaiah Naidu hinted that in the view of strong emotional connect of the people of Tamil Nadu with jallikattu, the Centre is mulling over a way out after the Supreme Court banned it.
“We are getting suggestions (to amend the law). After all, we did it in the Shah Bano case,” said Naidu adding, “But, we will have to see. We will have to discuss. We will have to weigh what court thinks.”
However, Naidu was non-committal about bringing an ordinance to deal with the Supreme Court order on Jallikattu, saying, “I am not dealing with the subject in the government.”
Speaking at the India Today Conclave South in Chennai, Venkaiah Naidu said, “Personally, I feel that Jallikattu is a traditional art. It is a traditional sport in Tamil Nadu. Nobody should have problem with this.” But, Naidu also added, “I don’t know whether I should be saying this as a minister.”
Shah Bano, a 62-year-old mother of five children from Madhya Pradesh, was divorced by her husband in 1978. Later, she filed a maintenance lawsuit against her ex-husband. In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled that Shah Bano was entitled to maintenance like any other Indian woman. But, this led to a huge uproar among the Muslim clerics. The then Rajiv Gandhi government amended the law by passing Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 to set aside the Shah Bano verdict of the Supreme Court.
WHAT ELSE DID HE SAY: THINGS TO KNOW
Venkaiah Naidu rejected the allegation of misuse of central agencies against political rivals, a charge leveled by several opposition leaders including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
On the question of Tamil Nadu’s chief secretary being raided, Naidu said, “He is not a rival of the BJP or central government. He is an officer. I don’t know whether he is still the chief secretary or not but he should not have leveled allegations. Other officers have condemned his statement.”
“In 2014, we got mandate to act against black money. We are implementing that mandate. If every corrupt, who is held starts saying that he is a politician or a bureaucrat, so he should not be touched, how will we fight corruption,” asked the Union minister.
On the question of the post-Jayalalithaa scenario in AIADMK and the Tamil Nadu government, Venkaiah Naidu said, “We work with the state government. Here, people elected AIADMK, which has selected O Panneerselvam as the Chief Minister. We will work with him.”
Naidu did not give a straight answer to the question about whether BJP favours Panneerselvam over Sasikala.
“Any politicians with some experience or knowledge should not answer question of ifs and buts,” said Naidu before adding, “You want to make a headline, giving me a deadline but I won’t change my line,” bringing laughter in the audience.