They prefer writ appeal against a single judge’s order

A group of eight Caste Hindus from Sathamangalam village in Melur Taluk near here has preferred a writ appeal in the Madras High Court Bench here challenging an order passed by a single judge on June 6 permitting the Dalits in the village to participate in the annual festival of Sri Harihara Puthira Ayyanar Temple.

The appellant group led by P. Ganesan Ambalam contended that people belonging to its community had been administering the temple since 1978 and the Dalits had no right to interfere in the temple affairs but for worshipping the deity.

It also stated that those belonging to the Scheduled Castes were administering a separate temple in the village.

Filing an affidavit on behalf of all the appellants, Mr. Ambalam said that a dispute arose between the two communities over administering the temple way back in 1986.

Then, the appellants filed a civil suit before the Munsif Court in Melur to restrain the Dalits from interfering in the administration and obtained a favourable decree in 1986 since the opponents failed to contest the suit.

After a long time, a Dalit villager began claiming right over the administration of the temple since this year and obtained an order from a single judge of the High Court without including the appellants as parties to the case, the group claimed.

It also stated that it was not against the Dalits worshipping the deity without interfering in the administration of the temple.

When the matter came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprising Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice V.M. Velumani on Friday, they told the appellants that no one could be prevented from participating in a temple festival on the basis of his/her caste. Later, the matter was adjourned to Monday as the lawyers were on court boycott on Friday.

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