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SC pulls up Centre for no response on 'Devadasi' PIL

New Delhi, Nov 28, 2015, DHNS: 1:29 IST
The Supreme Court. PTI  file photo
The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Centre over its failure to file response to a PIL seeking direction against practice of dedicating girls as “Devadasis” in some districts of Karnataka and other states.

A social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit questioned Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Union government, over the government’s inability and delay to inform about the steps taken to curb the evil practice.
Anand, however, submitted that the government wanted to file a composite affidavit that also incorporates a study undertaken by Madras University. The court, which was about to impose cost, relented and gave the government four weeks, noting that it was a serious problem which should be promptly addressed.

Time granted
The court had earlier on September 11 granted eight weeks’ time to the government to spell out the steps for possible abolition of the system of “Devadasi” prevailing in “beriya” and “nat” communities.

Advocate V K Biju, appearing for petitioner S L Foundation, referred to news reports indicating that hundreds of girls would be brought for dedication ceremony on the full moon day of Magha month on February 20 for becoming “Devadasis”.

He contended that the functions were proposed to be held, which would ruin the lives of girls.

The court, however, asked the counsel to undertake some independent research instead of relying on newspaper reports.

A “Devadasi”, dedicated to temple services for rest of her life, is often put to sexual exploitation.

The Kerala-based NGO had earlier claimed that even though Karnataka and Maharashtra had passed separate legislations abolishing “Devadasis”, the practice still continued at several places as per the NCW report which claimed that 2.5 lakh Dalit girls were dedicated to temples in Karnataka-Maharashtra border.

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