Devadasis practice in Karnataka

  • The Supreme Court expressed alarm at the apparent lack of concern shown by the government’s delay in filing a response to a PIL petition against the practice of dedicating girls as “Devadasis” to temples.
  • The Social Justice Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur pulled up the Centre on a writ petition filed by the Kerala-based NGO S.L. Foundation
  • The petition highlighted the dedication of Dalit girls as Devadasis at the Uttangi Mala Durga Temple in Davanagere district in Karnataka in February 2014. The NGO argued that young girls were forced into the Devadasi system and eventually pushed into prostitution
  • The NGO had contended on the basis of a National Commission for Women (NCW) report that the practice still continued at several places and at least 2.5 lakh Dalit girls were dedicated to temples on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border.
  • The court gave the Centre a four-week deadline to come clear about what steps it had taken so far to end the social evil.
  • The apex court had earlier called the age-old practice a “national shame” and directed the Karnataka government to ensure that no such function took place.
  • The Bench had earlier sought the government to file its response to chalk out the steps taken for the abolition of the system, prevailing in Beriya and Nat communities.
  • A recent survey revealed that there were still over 30,000 devadasis in the country.

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