Marital status does not determine woman's identity

Marital status does not determine woman’s identity: Madras High Court

Madras High Court ordered police officials in the Erode district of Tamil Nadu to ensure that a widow and her son can attend a local temple festival.

According to Justice Anand Venkatesh, a woman’s status and identity are independent of her marital status; therefore, no one has the right to prevent a widow from accessing a temple solely because she is a widow. Thangamani, a resident of Erode district, had filed a petition alleging that some villagers prevented her and her son from accessing the local temple and participating in the upcoming temple festival because of her widowed status.

The petitioner also informed the Court that she was threatened by locals who believed that a widow’s entrance into a temple would render the temple’s grounds impure. This was despite the fact that her deceased spouse was a priest at the very temple where she desired to pray. Justice Venkatesh expressed regret that such antiquated beliefs were still prevalent in the state.

According to the magistrate, a woman’s status and identity cannot be diminished or stripped away based on her marital status. The Court emphasised that the locals have no right to prevent the petitioner and her son from attending the festival and worshipping God.

“It is regrettable that antiquated beliefs that a widow entering a temple will bring about impurity continue to predominate in this state. Although reformers are endeavouring to eradicate these absurd beliefs, they are still practised in some villages. These are man-made dogmas and rules designed for his convenience, and they truly degrade a woman simply because she has lost her husband. All of this cannot persist in a civilised society governed by the rule of law. “If anyone makes such an attempt to prevent a widow from entering the temple, they must be punished in accordance with 3/6 Writ Petition No. 23119 of 2023,” the Court stated.

The Court therefore ordered the local police to contact the petitioner’s assailants and inform them that they cannot prevent the petitioner and her son from entering the temple and attending the festival scheduled for August 9 and 10 of this year. “If, despite the foregoing, respondents 5 and 6 (those threatening the petitioner) attempt to create a law and order issue, urgent action will be taken against them. The fourth respondent must ensure that the petitioner and her son attend the festival on both August 9 and 10, the Court ruled.

V Elangovan represented the petitioner in Court. Additional District Attorney A Damodaran appeared in front of the Erode collector and local law enforcement.


error: Content is protected !!