Wednesday, 5 October, 2011

Devaswom membership open to all castes

Thrissur court declares invalid bylaw in Thiruvambady Devaswom's constitution

The Thrissur Principal Munsiff Court on Tuesday issued an order stating that members of all castes of the Hindu community are eligible to be members of the managing committee and general body of the Thiruvambady Devaswom.

Till now, membership to these bodies of the Thiruvambady Devaswom was restricted to ‘Savarna Hindus,' that is, to Namboodiris, Nairs, and Ambalavasis.

On a petition filed by Visala Hindu Samatva Vedi representative and SNDP Thrissur union president K.V. Sadanandan and Kollara Ravindran, Judge N.V. Raju issued the order stating that all Hindus, belonging to the Chirakkal, Angady, and Punkunnam thattakam, should be made members of the Devaswom.

The court declared as invalid a bylaw in the Devaswom's constitution that stipulated only ‘Savarna Hindus' could be members.

Advocate K. Gopinathan, who appeared for the plaintiffs, argued that discrimination based on caste or casteism was out of place in a democratic State. “The Kandanathu Mana, the owners of the temple, had dedicated it to the public with a vision that all Hindus would have equal role in the temple affairs,” he said.

The court ordered that the name of Kollara Ravindran be included in the membership register of the Devaswom without insisting that he must be a ‘Savarna Hindu.'

The Thiruvambady Devaswom filed a petition that operation of the decree should be stayed till an appeal is filed against the verdict.

The petition will be taken up for hearing on October 10.

Later, Thiruvambady Devaswom president M. Madhavan Kutty told reporters that the Devaswom would seek expert legal opinion whether the constitution of a religious body could be changed by a court or whether it needed the involvement of the legislature.

“No caste discrimination is being practised in the temple or institutions run by the Devaswom. The shrine is open to members of all castes in the Hindu community. Workers in the temple belong to different castes, including Dalits. In a school run by the Devaswom, there are even members from other communities,” he said.


The rule that men have to leave the torso bare to be admitted, is a similar obscurantist rule. It is unhealthy; and leaves chances for spreading of skin diseases [even AIDS] in the jostling.

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