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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Tirupati temple: Constitutional court can’t interfere in daily rituals, says SC


The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of an appeal challenging an Andhra Pradesh High Court order which rejected a devotee’s plea that alleged “wrongful and irregular procedure” being followed in the conduct of the rituals at the Tirupati temple saying that “a Constitutional Court cannot look into the day-to-day affairs of a temple.”

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, however, made it clear that this does not give a free pass to the temple administration and asked it to give a proper response to the appellant within eight weeks. It said he could approach the appropriate forum if he still has any grievance.

“This Court cannot entertain this under a writ. Apart from pooja, if the administration is ignoring rules and regulations or indulging any other violation of arrangements, those are the only areas where we can ask Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) to clarify the issues raised by the petitioner or any other devotee. Other than this, if we start interfering in sevas, then it will not be feasible,” said the bench.

The appellant, Srivari Dadaa, had prayed that the ‘abhishekham’ process be followed as per traditions. Justice Kohli asked if his representation of March 2020 had been taken into account by the TTD. The bench also asked the Devasthanam why it had not given Dadaa a proper explanation to his grievance. “It is your duty to clarify it. You don’t have a free pass,” said the court.

TTD’s counsel said each and every grievance of the petitioner was taken into account and was explained in the counter affidavit filed before the high court. But the Chief Justice said, “something is wrong you have to give a detailed reply saying rituals are as per traditions. Or else you will force us to order.”

It also told Dadaa that the court cannot interfere in the day-to-day administration of how to conduct pooja etc.

Dadaa had earlier approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court which, however, dismissed his plea on January 5 saying the “procedure of conducting rituals is the exclusive domain of the Devasthanam and cannot be a matter of adjudication unless it impacts secular or civil rights of others” and that the Devasthanam cannot be said to be discharging public duties in the matter of conducting rituals and, hence, such activities falling within an ecclesiastical domain are not amenable to writ jurisdiction at the behest of an outsider.



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