A Devadasi is girl “dedicated” to the worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life, after a dedication ceremony. The Supreme Court had slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Centre for failing to file timely affidavit on women being forced to become devadasis.
Almost a month after being slapped a fine by the country’s apex court, the Centre has directed the states to take stern measures to check the practice of Devadasi under the existing laws.A Devadasi is girl “dedicated” to the worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life, after a dedication ceremony. The Supreme Court had slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Centre for failing to file timely affidavit on women being forced to become devadasis.In a letter dated December 22, the home ministry said that all the states and Union territories are ‘expected to ensure the implementation of existing law strictly to prevent such practices under guise’ and stressed that all such instances and cases should be dealt with strictly and without exception as per extant law.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Devadasi system is one of the heinous practices against women degrading them to the lowest level. It has come to the notice through various PILs and Media news that ‘Devadasi system’ still exists in the certain parts of the country especially in ‘Beriya’ and ‘Nat’ communities in the name of religious practices,” the home ministry letter said.Ministry further noted that though Devadasi system was abolished long back by passing various enactments by different state government, reports reveal that the absolutely inhuman practice against the dignity of women still persists.State level legislations such as the Karnataka Devadasis ‘Prohibition of Dedication Act, 1982, Maharashtra Devadasis Abolition Act, 2006, have completely prohibited such practices. The practice of Devadasi System in any form is in total contravention of the provisions under section 370 and 370A of the IPC as amended through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 and section 372 of IPC. Anyone found guilty under this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall be liable to fine. An NGO, SL Foundation had filed a PIL in Supreme Court last year in February seeking Court’s intervention to prevent a temple function that where alleged Devadasi dedication was scheduled to take place.”States and UTs should initiate special drive to identify all such victims and suitably rehabilitate them by providing proper counselling, medical treatment, guidance, support and motivation to lead a dignified life,” home ministry has told the state governments.