Madras High Court: What is of paramount importance? Country or religion?

Madras Hc Law Insider

Shivani Gadhavi

Published On: February 10, 2022 at 17:40 IST

The Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Munishwar Nath Bhandari recently expressed his frustration upon a Petition that sought a mandate which would describe a customary dress code for entry into Temples.

The Madras High Court Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy was hearing two separate Public Interest Litigation (PILs) filed by a person named Rangarajan Narsimha, who sought a particular prescribed customary dress code for entry into temples, which would restrict people from other religions to enter Hindu Temples.

The Chief Justice while expressing his disappointment stated that,

“What is of paramount importance? Country or religion? It is really shocking to see that somebody is for Hijab, some others are for dhotis inside temples. Is this one country or is it divided by religion?”

The Madras High Court Bench in regards with the PIL stated that, “We are a secular country. There is an effort to divide the country by religion. The talk must not be restricted to fundamental rights alone, it’s also important to talk about what the citizens could give back to the country and their fundamental duties.”

The Petitioner, Rangarajan Narsimha, argued that people who wear Christian or Muslim dresses should not be allowed to enter the premises of temples and that there should be a signboard outside of temples, which would describe the mandatory dress code for the entry.

The Division Bench stated that, “The Rules provide that if a temple has a custom, it can be followed. But the petitioner has not shown anything to that effect.”

The Petitioner, in response to this stated that he would submit the scriptures of Agama Sasthras, which prescribe the custom of Temples, if he is given time for the submission. The Bench while adjourning the matter, listed it to be heard after 10 days.

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