Madras High Court: In a writ petition filed by the organizer of Palani Hill Temple Devotees Organization, praying to direct the State to permit only Hindus to the Hill Temple Premises and its sub temples and consequently directing the executive officer of Arulmighu Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple to display boards to that effect in all entrances, S. Srimathy,J. ordered an interim status quo ante in the temple by directing the State to restore the display board stating that non-Hindus are not allowed in the temple. Further, directed the State to file counter.
In this case, the non-Hindus had purchased tickets to reach the Hilltop temple and when they were not allowed to the temple, they had argued that the hilltop was a tourist place and could be visited by outsiders. Thus, the petitioner sought a direction to permit only Hindus to the Hill temple premises and its sub-temples and to ensure display boards in the temple.
The petitioner contended that the entry to the Temple was considered by the Legislature, thus, the Tamil Nadu Entry Authorization Act, 1947 was enacted. The object of the Act is to authorize entry in the Hindu Temples in the State of Tamil Nadu and the offer of worship therein by all classes of Hindus. The contention of the petitioner is that this Act is enacted only for the Hindus and Non-Hindus cannot be permitted.
Additional Advocate General submitted that under Articles 13 and 15 of the Constitution of India, especially, under clause 15(1), the rights of other persons are protected. He also objected to granting interim orders and submitted that it is not the case for granting interim order and sought time to file counter
Further, the petitioner submitted that under Article 15(2) of the Constitution, the Temples are not included, and the Temples cannot be used as picnic spots. Moreover, all these years, there was a prevailing practice of exhibiting a Board in all Temples that non-Hindus are not allowed in the Temple premises.
The Court said that it is not known as to why the State had removed the Board. Therefore, the Court granted interim status quo ante. Further, it directed the State to restore the board and maintain the status quo ante.
The matter will next be taken up on 28-08-2023.
[Senthilkumar D v. Government of Tamil Nadu, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 5261, Order dated 31-07-2023]