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P. Venkateswara Rao Vs. K. Satyanarayana and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCri. Revn. No. 1559 of 1949 and Cri. Revn. Petn. No. 1476 of 1949
Judge
Reported inAIR1951Mad774; (1951)IMLJ234
ActsMadras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act, 1947 - Sections 3(3)
AppellantP. Venkateswara Rao
RespondentK. Satyanarayana and ors.
Appellant AdvocateN.V.B. Shankar Rao, Adv.;The Public Prosecutor
Respondent AdvocateN. Subramaniam, ;J.V. Krishna Sarma and ;G. Venkatarama Sastri, Advs.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Excerpt:
- - for example supposing a utsavamurthy in a well-known temple is brought out & kept in a particular locality & a festival or religious ceremony is held therein & a dance takes place in front of such a utsavamurthy, then the action would be in contravention of section 3 (3) of the act. was perfectly justified in acquitting the resps. is perfectly justified, the second question whether i should interfere at the instance of a private party does not arise......in the precincts of any temple or other religions institution, or in any procession of a hindu deity, idol or object of worship installed in any such temple or institution or at any festival or ceremony held in respect of such deity, idol, or object of worship, in hereby declared unlawful.' analysing this section in its various component parts, it comes to this : (1) dancing by a woman with or without kumbharathy, in the precincts of any temple or other religious institution is hereby declared unlawful; (2) dancing by a woman with or without kumbharathy in any procession of a hindu deity, idol or object of worship installed in such temple or institution is declared unlawful; (3) dancing by a woman with or without kumbharathy at any festival or ceremony held in respect of such a.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Govinda Menon, J.

1. The petnr. one P. Venkateswara Bao of Gadiwada who styles himself as the Secretary of the Town Kalavanthula Sanka-rana Sangam of Gudivada, moves this Ct. under Sections 435 & 439, Cr. P C. for setting aside the order of acquittal passed by the Addl. First Class Mag. of Bandar in C. C. No. 80 of 1949. It has to be stated at the outset that the public prosecutor has not moved this Ct. under Section 417, Cr P. C. by filing an appeal to set aside the order of acquittal. The questions to be decided are firstly whether there are sufficient grounds for interference by me; and secondly, even if there are sufficient grounds, whether the order of acquittal should be set aside at the instance of a private individual, however public-spirited he might be & however meritorious his act might be, so that he might act as a pro bona publico in the interests weal & welfare of the general community at large.

2. The complaint against the six resps. in the Ct. below was that they, in contravention of Sections 3 & 4, Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act (XXXI [31] of 1947), conducted a dancing in a specially erected pandal in front of the office of the first resp. at Gudivada, on the night of 13-4-1949 between 9 & 12 p. m. The first resp. is the proprietor of Sri Venkateswara Motor Service Co., Gadivada, with an office in the town. Eesps. 2 & 3 are unmarried ladies aged 30 & 20 years respectively belonging to Kalavantula community & are said to have dedicated their lives to the profession of dancing, Resps. 4, 5 & 6 are aaid to have taken part in the dance performance by playing tabala, harmonium, & clarionette respectively. What happened was that on the night in question, during the coarse of the celebration ofthe Sree Bama Navami festival, a pandal was erected in front of the motor press office of resp. l & in that pandal were installed coloured pictuies of the deities of Sree Rama, Laksh-mana, & Sita & it is stated that there was a celebration of the festival on that night. Besps, 2 & 3 are said to have danced before the picture of deity between the times above mentioned. The complainant alleged that by dancing before the coloured pictures of the deities temporarily installed for the celebration of the festival in this pandal, resps. 2 & 0 have committed an offence under Section 4, Madras Act XXXI [31] of 1947 & the other resps. have abetted the commission of that offence. The learned Addl. First Class Mag., on a construction of Section 3 (3) of the Act, came to the conclusion that the coloured pictures temporarily installed before which the dancing took place were not idols or deities as contemplated by Section 3 (3) of the Act, installed in a temple or a religious institution, & therefore the dancing before such pictures did not contravene the prohibition contained in Section 3 (8) of the Act. On this ground the resps. were acquitted.

3. The question is what is the proper construction of Section 3 (3) Madras Act XXXI [31] of 1947 which Act, it may be premised, was enacted for the purpose of the welfare of the Kalavantula community so that its members may be wealed from prostitution & be compelled to lead a chaste & pure life. Section 3 (3) of the Act runs as follows :

'Dancing by a woman, with or without kumbharathy, in the precincts of any temple or other religions institution, or in any procession of a Hindu deity, idol or object of worship installed in any such temple or institution or at any festival or ceremony held in respect of such deity, idol, or object of worship, in hereby declared unlawful.'

Analysing this section in its various component parts, it comes to this : (1) Dancing by a woman with or without kumbharathy, in the precincts of any temple or other religious institution is hereby declared unlawful; (2) Dancing by a woman with or without kumbharathy in any procession of a Hindu deity, idol or object of worship installed in such temple or institution is declared unlawful; (3) Dancing by a woman with or without kumbharathy at any festival or ceremony held in respect of such a deity, idol or object of worship is declared unlawful. The question is as to whether resps. 2 & 8 danced at a festival or ceremony in respect of such a deity, idol or object of worship. The emphasis is on the word 'such.' What the Legislature should be deemed to have contemplated is that the festival or the ceremony must be held in respect of a Hindu deity, idol or object of worship installed in any such temple or religious institution. It is not disputed that the coloured pictures of Sree Rama, Lakshmana & Sita temporarily put an in thispandal cannot be said to be a deity or idol or any object of worship installed in a temple or other religious institution. There is no case that these pictures were either installed in a temple or were at any time the utsavamurthy as we find in any of these temples. They are simply coloured pictures probably purchased at a cost of a few annas in the market. No consecration has taken place. What the section saya is that if a woman dancea either within the precincts of the temple in front of the deity, or in front of the idol or other object of worship in the temple or in a procession where the deity, idol or other object of worship is carried out, then such an Act is unlawful. It may also be that a festival or a ceremony held elsewhere in honour of such a deity or idol or object of worship is equated to what happens in the temple itself. I do not think that it can be safely predicated that if a private individual, out of devotion & orthodoxy, celebrates the Sree Ramanavami festival either in his own office or in any public place & does pooja to coloured pictures of these Gods, it can be said that his action can be called a festival or a ceremony held in respect of a deity or idol or object of worship installed in the temple. For example supposing a utsavamurthy in a well-known temple is brought out & kept in a particular locality & a festival or religious ceremony is held therein & a dance takes place in front of such a utsavamurthy, then the action would be in contravention of Section 3 (3) of the Act. As I find that the resps. have not contravened the provisions of Section 3 (3) of the Act, in my view the learned Addl. First Class Mag. was perfectly justified in acquitting the resps. of any offence whatever.

4. However laudatory the action of the petnr. might be in trying to bring to the notice of Ct. instances which, according to him, are prohibited by law, I am afraid Cts. cannot countenance prosecution for actions which cannot be held to be illegal. In the view which I take that the order of the learned Mag. is perfectly justified, the second question whether I should interfere at the instance of a private party does not arise.

5. The cri. revn. petn. is dismissed.


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