The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up 'Adivasi Budakattu Hitrarakshana Vedike' for failing to respond for three years to a petition by Karnataka government against 'Made Snana' performed by Malekudiya community, classified as Scheduled Tribes, at Kukke Sri Subrahmanya Temple in Dakshina Kannada district.
“It is a 2014 petition. Why didn't you file your counter affidavit? Three years have gone by. You can't seek unlimited time,” a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana told senior advocate H Subrahmanya Jois, representing the organisation, who wanted time to file the response.
The court, however, granted Jois four weeks’ time to file a reply to the special leave petition filed by the Karnataka government against the practice. The bench clarified that if the organisation still did not furnish its affidavit, the court would go ahead with final hearing in the matter.
The apex court had earlier on December 12, 2014 stayed the Karnataka High Court order which allowed 'Made Snana' on a petition filed by Adivasi Budakattu Hitrarakshana Vedike.
The court had then admitted the Karnataka government's special leave petition filed by advocate Joseph Aristotle for consideration against the ritual in which devotees rolled over the leftover food under the belief that it would cure skin diseases and solve infertility problems of the womenfolk. “Untouchability has continued for over 500 years, it does not mean we can continue with it,” the court had then observed.
In a related writ petition filed by P Thalapathi, the Union government had in September, 2016 called for ban on the ritual, also practised in Tamil Nadu, saying it could not be shielded under the right of freedom of religion granted under the Constitution.
In Karnataka, the ritual is followed during the three-day annual celebrations in November-December. In Tamil Nadu, the custom is seen every April as part of the annual Aradhana festival of the Nerur Sadasiva Bharmendrai Temple in Karur district.