For believers, asthigas and Hinduism – the Monday judgment of the Supreme Court quashing the TN Govt Feb 2009 order appointing Executive Officer to manage the affairs and properties of the Natarajar temple at Chidambaram has come as a big relief. It was no case against the Dikshithars alone….. for long the Govts and the created HR&CE have held Hindu beliefs and the money / property donated by Hindus to their
have been held and used against the interests of Hinduism and the wishes of
devotees. The devotees were really pained and anguished to note that there had
to be a debate and subsequent Govt order that temple premises should not be
used for anti-religion, atheist meets …. Can any such thing happen in any
property owned / managed by any other
religious bodies ?.......... then, why Hinduism, Hindu temples are always
On Monday (6th Jan 2014), a Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde, allowing a batch of appeals filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and Podhu Dikshitars against the Madras High Court verdict upholding the GO, held that the right of the Dikshitars to manage the temple could not be taken away by the government. The Bench accepted the contention of the Dikshitars that they were a religious denomination as per the Article 26 of the Constitution “which guarantees right to establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes.” Mr. Justice Chauhan pointed out that the right to administer the temple by the Dikshitars had been recognised by the Supreme Court in its judgment in 1952 and it could not be taken away. The Bench faulted the Madras High Court for re-opening the issue whether the Dikshitars were a religious denomination or not even after the matter had been res judicata (already been decided). On the State government’s contention that it had a right to interfere when there was mismanagement, the Bench said such interference could only be for a short period. Quoting the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, Dr. Swamy argued that if there were allegations of misappropriation, the issue should be dealt with under the provisions of the IPC and not by taking over the temple administration.
One of the earliest documented incidents relating to the status of Chidambaram Natarajar temple or Sabanayagar temple as it is officially known dates back to 1885 ~ and thus a century old tussle has come to an end. The efforts of Chidambaram Podhu Dikshithars fructified as Dr Subramania Swami fought their cause and won it for them….. even before the asthigas could celebrate comes the news of Govt taking over ‘Ayodhya Mandapam’.
now it is Ayodhya mandapam at West Mambalam. The government on Monday took over the
Ayodhya Mandapam in West Mambalam, sparking protests
in the locality. The Mandapam, around 60 years old, functions as a place for
religious discourse and concerts. There is no proper temple but the Mandapam
has depictions of Rama, Sita, Radha and Krishna
and devotees worship in a small shrine in the hall. The Mandapam, the
Mithilapuri Kalyana Mandapam, Sri Sitaram Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher
Secondary School, and Gnanavapi, are run by the Sri Ram Samaj, a society, which
was founded in 1954. A member of the society said that it was not a temple as
it did not have a presiding deity or a dwajasthambam (flag mast) and was
involved only in conducting religious discourses, and festivals including
Ramanavami, Navarathri and Kandasashti.
TOI reports that the Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HR&CE) department took charge of the hall on a petition by a person whose application for membership to the Sri Rama Samajam, which managed the mandapam, had been rejected. The state took over the temple under Section 49(1) of the HR&CE Act. “The samajam also manages a higher secondary school, a marriage hall and Gnanavapi, where funeral rites are conducted,” said samajam president
“All the assets have been taken over by the HR&CE department. The
department issued an order on Saturday appointing an assistant commissioner to
manage the four assets.”
photo courtesy : www.panoramio.com/photo/43052646
The samajam on
Arya Gowda Road was formed in 1954 to
celebrate Rama Navami. It gradually expanded and constructed a marriage hall,
set up a school nearby and Gnanavapi in T Nagar. The officer tried to serve the
order on Saturday but could not as the office was locked, said Ravichandran.
“The samajam has filed a petition in the
high court through its counsel against the takeover,” Ravichandran said. Madras
Volunteers of the Hindu Mahasabha held protests outside the Mandapam after the takeover. The total assets of the samajam are estimated to be worth more than 5 crore. The HR&CE department said it had appointed an official to probe the financial affairs of the samajam.
So another temple, another yardstick as State Govt and its HR&CE try to usurp power and funds of another Hindu religious institutions – which they cannot do elsewhere…. Sad for the Hindus.
7th Jan 2014.
7th Jan 2014.
PS : A SMS received (in the evening) from an advocate friend says
'Madras HC stays the taking over'...............