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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Kerala HC judge stops judicial officers from performing Kodathi Vilakku ritual during Guruvayur mandir festival

On November 1, Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar from the Kerala high court issued an ‘instruction.’ It read, “As secular democratic institutions under the Constitution, courts cannot be seen engaging in activities that promote any particular religion. While steps are being explored to prevent the organizers from using the name ‘Kodathi Vilakku’ (court Diya/lamp) in the future, judicial officers in Thrissur are advised not to actively involve themselves in organizing the event.” 

This decree against the participation of judges and lawyers in the Guruvayur temple Kodathi Vilakku did not go down well with a large section of Hindus. They did discuss the same in private but remained silent since they feared unpredictable court orders. Most Hindus suspect the ruling Marxist regime and left-liberal judges are committed to destroying Hindu/Sanatana Dharma while encouraging or bending to Abrahamic fanatics.

Completely religious celebrations, including Christmas, Easter, and Ramzan, are held in all the courts. Ignoring the order, this time-honored Kodathi Vilakku ceremony was repeated on the occasion of Guruvayur Ekadashi on the 6th of this month.

Guruvayur Ekadashi Vilakku

‘Vilakku’ is a ceremony during the Guruvayur Ekadashi festival. Ekadashi, the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight, is especially auspicious to the Hindus. The Vrishchika Ekadashi aka Guruvayur Ekadashi has special significance since it falls in the Mandala (Sabarimala) season. Ekadashi Vilakku lamp-lighting ritual is held a month before Vrishchika Ekadashi day which falls on December 4 this year. The entire temple is lit with traditional lamps during the period. Devotees offer the oil and the necessary pooja items required for the ceremony. 

Ekadasi is observed to appease Bhagwan Vishnu, and devotees observe complete fasting. Various organizations and individuals contribute lavishly and participate in this event. ‘Kodathi Vilakku’ is held in the temple in this connection. 

Kodathi Vilakku

The Kodathi Vilakku or ‘Court Lamp’ is believed to have a history of 130 years and was initiated by the staff of the Chavakkad Munsiff Court during British rule. It is conducted by a registered trust formed under the leadership of Chavakkad Court lawyers and court employees. Judges and lawyers from all over Kerala participate. As usual, without any evidence, opponents allege that the trust is ‘corrupt’.

New-age ‘seculars’ have added false propaganda about the origins of Kodathi Vilakku. They claim that a Muslim named Keyi, employed at the Chavakkad court, began the ritual at the beginning of the last century. There is no evidence to back up this tall claim.

When Tipu, the Islamist tyrant, invaded Malabar, the Zamorin of Kozhikode hid Guruvayurappan’s murti underground. The murti was later secretly transferred to Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple. Tipu destroyed the smaller shrines and set fire to the Guruvayur temple, but it was saved due to timely rain.

The week-long lamp ceremony during Ekadashi includes the ‘police lamp,’ ‘postal lamp,’ ‘bank lamp’ (more than one bank performs the lamp ceremony), and the ‘court lamp’. Though the state police department has no direct connection with the police lamp, hundreds of officers throng the temple. The employees of the respective institutions are often a part of this lamp ceremony.

High Court Registrar Hemalatha issued the decree on November 1. It stated that the reference to the court in the ceremony of lighting lamps in Guruvayur was ‘inappropriate’. The High Court observed that using the name of the court gives the impression that it is related to a religious program. The letter also stated that judges could not be ‘forced to participate’ in lighting the court lamp.

However, Nambiar’s order asking judicial officers not to partake in the event was thrown to the wind, and even senior judges actively participated in the ritual. Cultural programs were held and were inaugurated by Justice P Somarajan of the High Court. Also present were State Judicial Officers Association President and District Judge N Seshadrinathan, retired judges Padmanabhan Nair, Jyothindranath, and N K Balakrishnan.

Chavakkad Munsiff Court Advocates’ Bar Association organizing committee conducted an elaborate lamp display at the Guruvayur temple. The Guruvayur Ekadasi Kodathi Vilakku Committee booked the offering. As per Guruvayur Devaswom documents, ‘Kodathi Vilakku’ was booked under Munsif, Chavakkad.

Since this is not a court order in response to any case or complaint, this order is being seen as an unprecedented self-proclaimed decree by a single judge Nambiar. Each district has a high court judge who supervises the court proceedings of that particular district. Nambiar used this authority and instructed the Thrissur district judge, and the court registrar signed the instruction. It claimed that the participation of judges would ‘send a wrong message’.  

Lawyers at Chavakkad Bar who participated in the event said it was only an office memorandum issued by a High Court Judge to the District Judge. No official High Court order has come in this regard, they added. Photos of Justice Nambiar inaugurating the cultural program as part of the ritual in the past is also doing the rounds. The reason for this sudden U-turn remains unknown.

Lawyer exposes hypocrisy

JS Ajith Kumar, a lawyer from Ernakulam, has filed a court application with the High Court Registrar. He asked the court to direct that the celebrations of different religious groups should not be held inside court premises. Ajith’s submittal is being widely discussed in the context of the strict instructions against Hindus from the court.

The lawyer requested that all the religious celebrations held in all the courts for ages be considered inappropriate and anti-secular. Ajith pointed out the double standards behind celebrating Christmas, Easter, and Ramzan while suppressing the Kodathi Vilakku.

Ajith pointed out the hypocrisy in finding fault with the lamp-lighting ceremony in which all lawyers participate, irrespective of jaati (caste) and community. His letter has gone viral on social media, and congratulations are flooding in.

Incidentally, judges, their relatives (far and near), and their associates arrive in gangs, do not stand in queues, and directly enter the sanctum sanctorum of Guruvayur temple. Hindu employees (except the judges) employed at Chavakkad court are forced to accompany these VVIP guests, and they must arrange safe passage. Such coteries enter the temple mocking the thousands of devotees who patiently wait in long winding queues.

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