Writ Petition in Kerala High Court for Brahmins’ Rights

Mukundan Menon
(Our Special Correspondent)

Thiruvananthapuram, February 19: Seeking the judicial sanction to sustain age-old caste tradition and supremacy of Brahmins? That is precisely what the “Malayala Brahmana Samajam” sought while moving a writ petition challenging the notification issued by Travancore Devaswom Board directing that all Hindu priests, irrespective of caste and who intend to conduct “Balitharpanam” at Aluva Shiarathri Manalpuram should obtain “priesthood certificate” from the Board.

Moving the petition, the Samajam leaders led by M. K.Jathavedan said that from time immemorial Malayala Brahmins are recognised as the community “competent” for conducting “Pithrutharppanam” (Balitharpanam) relating to various castes of Kerala’s Hindu community. “But, of late, priests and members of other communities also started to perform the same, keeping an eye on the money they obtain as ‘dakshina’”, the writ petition admitted on file by the High Court said plainly.

The writ petition also said that the Board then started collecting fee from such non-Malayala Brahmin priests. “However, no fee was collected from the Malayala Brahmana priests who were given special plots”, the petition admitted. Yet, the petitioners argue that the Board has no power to issue the impugned notification of February 8. Priesthood certificate is to be issued on the basis of a certificate issued by the Thantri approved by Devaswom Board or “Samudayika Acharyas” and on a payment of Rs. 1,000.

Claiming that the Board’s notification is in violation of their constitutional as well as customary rights, the petitioners sought judicial direction to the Board not to prevent them from undertaking “Prithrutharpa\panam” at Aluva on Sivarathri day, which falls on February 21.

Source: www.ambedkar.org
Referred by:Mukundan Menon
Published on: February 19, 2001
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