Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act
|Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act|
|Madras Legislative Council|
|Territorial extent||South India|
|Enacted by||Madras Presidency|
|Date enacted||9 October 1947|
|Bill||Devadasi Abolition Bill|
|Introduced by||Muthulakshmi Reddi|
|1956 Madras Anti-Devadasi Act|
|Gave devadasis the legal right to marry and made it illegal to dedicate girls to Hindu temples|
|Devadasi, prostitution in India|
|Status: In force|
The Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act (also called the Tamil Nadu Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act or the Madras Devadasi Act) is a law that was enacted on 9 October 1947 just after India became independent from British rule. The law was passed in the Madras Presidency and gave devadasis the legal right to marry and made it illegal to dedicate girls to Hindu temples. The bill that became this act was the Devadasi Abolition Bill.
Muthulakshmi Reddi proposed the bill to the Madras Legislative Council in 1930. Some devadasis objected to the bill because they considered themselves sophisticated and learned artists rather than prostitutes. E.V.Ramasamy naicker was instrumental in passing the Devadasi Abolition Bill but, owing to strong protests from devadasis across Madras Presidency, he suggested that the bill be introduced only as a private bill and not a public bill. The Madras Devadasi Act was not as strict as subsequent related laws. Because the Madras Devadasi Act was specific to devadasis, prostitution continued in South India, particularly along the coast in Andhra Pradesh, until the Madras Anti-Devadasi Act was passed on 14 August 1956. The Madras Devadasi Act is one of several laws passed in the presidencies and provinces of British India and the subsequent states and territories of India that made prostitution illegal, including the 1934 Bombay Devadasi Protection Act, the 1957 Bombay Protection (Extension) Act, and the 1988 Andhra Pradesh Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act.
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