Centre asks states to check Devadasi system

Centre asks states to check Devadasi system

Describing Devadasi system as one of the most heinous practices against women, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has asked all states to ensure implementing laws strictly and identify victims in order to rehabilitate them.

“Though it was abolished long back by passing various enactments by different state governments, reports reveal that Devadasi system still persists. The practice is absolutely inhuman and against the dignity of women,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its advisory to the state governments.

Stressing the need for completely abolishing the malice in both letter and spirit, the government told the apex court that the state and Union territories administration need to take a proactive role in this regard as the police and public order and rehabilitation of such victims fell in their domain.

The government's response came in the form of an affidavit filed following a notice by the apex court while hearing a PIL.

Kerala-based NGO S L Foundation filed a petition that contended that though Karnataka and Maharashtra had passed separate legislations abolishing Devadasi system, the practice still continued at several places as per the National Commission for Women report which claimed that 2.5 lakh Dalit girls were dedicated to temples along the Karnataka-Maharashtra border.

The court had in November pulled up the Centre over its failure to file response on a PIL seeking direction against the practice of dedicating girls as Devadasis in some districts of Karnataka and other states. It was said to be prevalent specially in “beriya” and “nat” communities in the name of religious practices.

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