The Kerala High Court has issued an order to judicial officers in Thrissur Judicial District Court not to actively involve themselves in organising the century-old 'Kodathi Vilakku' at the Guruvayur Temple in the future.
During the month of Ekadashi, various organisations conduct the program at Guruvayur temple including the 'SBI Vilakku', 'Devaswom employees Vilakku' and 'Kodathi Vilakku' (roughly translated as 'court lamp'), but the High Court said the court cannot be seen engaging in activities that promote a particular religion.
J Hemalatha, joint Registrar of the High Court issued the order based on the instruction from Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar, judge-in-charge of the Thrissur District, with regard to the conduct of the event at Guruvayur Temple annually.
"As secular democratic institutions under the Constitutions, the courts cannot be seen engaging in activities that promote any particular religion. Accordingly, while steps are being explored to prevent the organisers of the event from using the name 'Kodathi Vilakku' in the future, the judicial officers in Thrissur District are advised not to actively involve themselves in the organising of the event, either by consenting to be a part of the organising committee or in any other manner. They shall also not feel compelled or obligated to attend the event," the order said.
The 'Kodathi Vilakku', first offered to the Lord over 100 years ago by Chavakkad court former Munsiff Keyi, is now being conducted by the Munsiff, magistrates, advocates, and their clerks of Chavakkad munsiff court.
The order stated that an event under the banner 'Kodathi Vilakku' is being hosted annually at the Guruvayur Temple by an organising committee comprising the members of the Chavakkad Munsiff Court Bar Association. "While there can be no objection to the members of the Bar organisation conducting such events, either individually or collectively, the use of the name 'Kodathi Vilakku', is unacceptable for it gives the impression that the courts in our state are in some way connected with the organisers of the event," stated in the order issued on November 1- the Kerala Piravi day.
The judge said that the fact that judicial officers of ranks, including those professing other religions, feel compelled/obliged to attend the annual event that is invariably attended by the Kerala High Court judges as well, indicates the extent to which the term "Kodathi Vilakku" can be misleading.