Madras High Court grants permission for Angapradakshinam over used plantain leaves

In 2015, the High Court had banned it

Photo Credits : Legal Vidhiya

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) – The Madras High Court has granted permission for Angapradakshinam – a ritual involving rolling over plantain leaves in which other devotees had partaken their food. This practice was banned by the Madras High Court in 2015.

The Court stated,

1. It is not open to the Court to challenge the belief entertained by the petitioner as regards the spiritual efficacy of the practice. Performing Angapradakshinam on plantain leaves after the guests have eaten is an act of high religious worship by devotees. This right is protected by Part III of the Constitution of India [Articles 14, 19(1)(a), 19(1)(d), 21 and Article 25(1)].

2. Personal choices governing the way of life are intrinsic to privacy. Privacy is not lost or surrendered merely because the individual is in a public place. Article 19(1)(d) states that all citizens shall have the right to move freely throughout the territory of India. The right to move cannot be confined to walking or vehicular transportation. It would include Angapradakshinam also.

3. The prayer made by the petitioner to grant permission for Angapradakshinam is unnecessary. For conducting the customary religious events in villages, one does not require permission from the authorities. The petitioner can very well exercise his fundamental right of performing Angapradakshinam on the plantain leaves after the guests have partaken in the meals. No authority can interfere with the same. If there is any such obstruction, the Police must aid the petitioner in exercising his fundamental right and remove the obstructors from the scene.

4. In this petition, Article 17 of the Constitution has been incorrectly applied to the idea that people belonging to other communities roll over on the plantain leaves in which Brahmins had partaken their food. In fact, this custom points to communal amity and social integration.

What is Angapradakshinam ?

In some temples of Tamil Nadu State, after Brahmins had partaken their food on plantain leaves, other devotees roll over these used leaves. This practice is called Angapradakshinam.

What is the matter ?

In 2015, a Judge of the Madras High Court directed the administrative authorities not to allow anyone to perform Angapradakshinam. Although there are limitations to the Court’s interference with religious practices and customs, no human being can be allowed to be degraded, by following any practice or custom in the name of religion.

In the present case, the petitioner who wanted to perform Angapradakshinam had sought permission for it. Arguing that he should be allowed to exercise his fundamental right to practice religion, the administration said that their hands are tied due to a 2015 Court order.