Kerala HC against use of ‘kodathi vilakku’ term for religious event at Guruvayur temple

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has objected to the use of the term ‘kodathi vilakku’ (court lamp) in connection with a religious event at the Guruvayur temple in Thrissur district, saying it appeared that the courts were organizing the same.

The High Court, in its official memorandum (OM) issued on November 1, said that as a secular democratic institution under the Constitution, “courts cannot be seen to be engaged in activities that promote a particular religion.”

The OM has been issued on the orders of District Magistrate AK Jayasankaran Nambiar, Thrissur.

The memorandum said the High Court has taken notice that an annual religious event called ‘kodathi vilakku’ was being organized at the Guruvayur temple by an organizing committee comprising members of the Chavakkad Munsiff Court Bar Association.

“While there is no objection to the members of the Bar Association organizing such events, individually or as a group, the use of the name ‘kodathi vilakku’ is unacceptable as it appears that the courts of our state are somehow connected with the organization of the event,” the memorandum said.

He also said that judicial officers of all ranks, including those of other religions, “feel compelled/forced to attend the annual event” which is also attended by High Court judges, “which indicates how long the term ‘kodathi vilakku’ can be misleading”.

“Consequently, while the organizers of the event are considering steps to prevent the use of the name ‘kodathi vilakku’ in future, the Judicial Officers of the Judicial District of Thrissur are advised not to take any active part in the organization of the said event, either by being permitted to participate in the organizing committee or in any other manner. Further , they will not feel bound or compelled to attend the function,” the High Court said.

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