Madras High Court Asserts Right to Religious Duties

LI Network

Published on: December 27, 2023 at 14:30 IST

The Madras High Court has issued a directive to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department, urging them to conduct the Margazhi festival at the Arulmighu Chelliyaramman Temple in Virudhunagar District.

The Court emphasized that the festival should be inclusive, allowing all devotees, irrespective of caste, including those from the scheduled caste community.

The decision comes in response to a plea filed by a man alleging the exclusion of scheduled caste members from participating in the temple festivities.

Justice B Pugalendhi, presiding over the case, also instructed the Tahsildar to investigate any instances of untouchability in the village and submit a report to the District Collector for necessary action.

Furthermore, the Court stressed that no individual or group should restrain anyone from performing their religious duties, a right guaranteed under the constitution. Describing the temple as a public place, the court asserted that the HR&CE Department had the authority to intervene in its affairs.

The department was directed to appoint a suitable person and take appropriate action based on the Tahsildar’s report.

The petitioner, Pandiarajan, belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, informed the court of their alleged excommunication from participating in the temple festival. He stated that members of the Maravar community were preventing scheduled caste individuals from participating and collecting taxes separately.

Despite a resolution during a peace committee meeting, where it was decided that the festival would proceed as per the HR&CE Department’s advice, Pandiarajan claimed continued resistance from the caste Hindus.

In response, the Madras High Court directed the HR&CE Department to ensure an inclusive festival and take necessary actions.

The case, titled Pandiarajan C v The District Collector and Others, was documented under W.P(MD)No.30303 of 2023.

Related Post