Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court Madan Lokkur and Bhanumathi have recently given a judgment which is not only historic but highly commnedable. It is bound to create a scientific temper among the public besides underlining the importance of wiping out meaningless rituals and irrational superstitions.

The State Government of Karnataka has banned an ugly, unhygienic and barbaric custom of foolish devotees rolling down on the plaintain leaves used by Brahmins to eat their meals in the precincts of the temple. Every year this had been the (urulu Seva)  ritual in about three or four temples of Lord Subramanys in Dakshin Karnataka district of Karnataka State. The commoners' belief was that they will be cured of sickness and ailments if they perform this ugly ceremony. The State Government banned this undesirable custom but the High Court of Karnataka has cancelled the Government order.

The State Government then appealed to the Supreme Court against the ban of the High Court. Advocates on behalf of the temple argued that this has been a practice among the devotees for the past five hundred years. The Supreme Court countered this premise by posing a question just because untouchability has been there for hundreds of years, can it be justified? Thus the argument of the defence lawyers was declared untenable, the order of the High Court  had decreed that this ritual should not be held on the 27th of December 2014 and thereafter for ever.


Is scientific temper an attitude for both the public and the private domains or is it only for the public domain? Is it opposed to or can it co-exist with superstition? These are questions India must debate

In early November, the Prime Minister announced that an important initiative to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru was the “promotion of scientific temper among children”. Endorsing this view, a few days later, the Home Minister, who is also the convener of the committee tasked to organise the celebrations, lauded Nehru’s leadership role in promoting scientific temper and in establishing the institutions of science in the country.

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