Madras High Court: Chipping into the ‘beef’ controversy that has been raging in the nation for quite some time, the Division Bench of S. Manikumar and C.T. Selvam, JJ., dismissed the instant public interest litigation praying for the writ of mandamus thereby directing respondents to remove the shops run by Muslims in and around Palani Temple Hills for creating communal discord and disrespecting Hindu faith by selling and eating beef. With no Indian law touching the eating habits of people belonging to different religion, the Court refused to accept the argument of the petitioner that eating beef is an offence
The petitioner appearing in person contended that the temple of Lord Muruga situated on the Palani Hills is a revered site for the devotees and the same is being disgraced by the presence of several non- vegetarian shops run by Muslim owners.
The Court’s focus in the present case was mainly on the principles to be followed while dealing with a Public Interest Litigation. The Bench referred to the landmark cases like Janata Dal v. H.S. Chowdhary, (1992) 4 SCC 305; Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha v. Dhobei Sahoo, (2014) 1 SCC 161, where the Supreme Court laid down the principles of adopting a cautioned approach while dealing with PILs, as the mechanism has been put to misuse by parties having malafide interests. The Court perusing the ‘concerns’ of the petitioner pointed out that the petitioner failed to produce evidence regarding how eating of beef around the temple has hurt the sentiments of the Hindu devotees. The Court also stated that the IPC does put any prohibition on eating non- vegetarian food thus it cannot be said that eating beef is an offence in India. [K. Gopinath v. The Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 1767, decided on 18.03.2016]