SC stays High Court order allowing 'Made Snana'

SC stays High Court order allowing 'Made Snana'

“Untouchability has continued for more than 500 years; it does not mean we can continue with it,” the Supreme Court said on Friday and stayed a Karnataka High Court order, which allowed the ‘Made Snana’ ritual performed by the Malekudiya community in Dakshina Kannada.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and R Banumathi admitted a plea by the Karnataka government against the ritual in which devotees roll over leftovers believing it would cure skin diseases and female infertility.

“There will be a stay on the operation of the high court order of November 19,” the court said after senior advocate T R Andhyarujina, appearing for the State government, submitted that the high court allowed the “obnoxious” practice through its order.

Acting on a petition filed by Adivasi Budakattu Hitrarakshana Vedike, the Karnataka High Court had on November 19 ordered that the rituals, which were prevailing earlier, would continue to be performed by devotees during ‘Shashti’ this year.

The court had not allowed any modification in the practice, saying the sentiments of the locals—attached to the temple and following the custom since time immemorial—cannot be brushed aside.

The government’s counsel contended the high court, through an interim order, permitted the practice without going into the merit of the issue.

The apex court did not appreciate the plea made by the Vedike’s counsel that the custom had been followed by the people for several years. It directed the Vedike’s counsel to submit his response to the government’s petition.

The State government’s petition claimed that allowing the community to perform the rituals as per its religious belief during Shashti festival could cause problems of law and order problem.

It sought a ban on the custom in its original form, saying the right to practise one’s religion was subject to certain conditions. It also claimed the practice, in its original form, also called ‘Pankti Behda’, was clearly against the public order, morality and health.

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