Thaipusam participants to withdraw appeal to apex court

Three Thaipusam participants who lost a High Court application for a judicial review of the procession's permit conditions are applying to withdraw their appeal to the apex court.

The trio's U-turn comes after a Dec 2 police announcement to allow music at seven more spots along the procession route for Thaipusam next year.

This includes four music transmission points on top of the existing three. Also, there are three locations where musicians can play "live" religious music for devotees. The latter move allows live music during the procession for the first time in 42 years.

Applicants R. Vijaya Kumar, Balasubramaniam and M. Sathiyamoorthy said in court papers filed by lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam that the position taken by the police for next year's Thaipusam is "somewhat in line with what we were asking for".

In their earlier High Court application, the trio had sought to lift the ban on the use of instruments at next year's event.

Rejecting their move in his judgment in September, Justice Tay Yong Kwang noted the application affects the Government's 42-year-old policy ban on the use of musical instruments during the foot procession, which had been modified in recent times as police authorised religious hymns to be sung throughout the procession and broadcast from public address systems at three locations.

Musical instruments were also played within the temple grounds at the start and end of the procession, he added.

It is understood that the police announcement in December came after discussions with the Hindu Endowments Board, which shared feedback from the community on modifications to the procession arrangements.

"We are grateful for and welcome the reasonable stance taken by the police in relation to the playing of live religious music at the Thaipusam procession," said Mr M. Sathiyamoorthy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'Thaipusam participants to withdraw appeal to apex court'. Print Edition | Subscribe