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HVK Archives: Temple rituals: HC notice to Govt.

Temple rituals: HC notice to Govt. - The Hindu

Posted By Ashok Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
October 14, 1998

Title: Temple rituals: HC notice to Govt.
Publication: The Hindu
Date: October 14, 1998

The Madras High Court has ordered notice to the State government on a
writ petition to restrain it from interfering in any manner with
ceremonies, poojas, rituals, consecration and mode of performing daily
rituals in temples.

A Division Bench, comprising the Chief justice Mr. M.S. Liberhan and Mr.
Justice E. Padmanabhan ordered notice to the Secretary, Hindu Religious
and Charitable Endowments department and the Commissioner, HR & CE on a
petition filed by Hindu Temples Protection Committee President, Mr.
V.S. Srikumar.

The petitioner said the HR & CE, Commissioner, acting under the orders
of the Secretary, had directed the archakas and Gurukkals in temples in
the State to do archanas only in Tamil.

Further they had compelled those in charge of performing kumbabhishekams
in temples to conduct the rituals in Tamil by substituting the age-old
rituals and vedic mantras used in consecration ceremonies, with Tamil

The petitioner said the action of the respondents was in violation of
their statutory limitations and it interfered with the rights guaranteed
under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. One could not change the
form of idol and still claim that it was a particular God. Similarly the
language could not be changed and new rituals could not be called as
mantras. The change of language went to the root of the basic faith and
belief of Hindus.

The petitioner said the Commissioner had also ordered that six time
poojas should be performed wherever four time poojas were being

According to the Agama sastras, the worship of an idol in a temple
should be strictly in accordance with the objects for which it was
initially installed and included the modes and ceremonies, performance
of poojas, the time of opening and closing of the sanctum sanctorum
etc. Hence it could not be changed.

The petitioner said when the Commissioner's direction was brought to the
notice of the Secretary, he clarified that there was no compulsion to
perform archanas or rituals in Tamil. But the Commissioner continued to
interfere with the day-to-day religious observance of the temples
transgressing his limits and powers.

Hence the present petition to restrain the respondents from interfering
with the customary of traditional rituals and religious observance and
ceremonies in temples.

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