The Madras High Court bench here has directed the Dindigul district administration and the authorities of Dhandayuthapani Temple to organise ‘a smooth and an accident free’ Thai Poosam festival in January 2014.

A Division Bench comprising Justices R. Sudhakar and S. Vaidyanathan issued the direction based on a public interest litigation filed by C. Arun alias Arunachalam, a Madurai based advocate.

In his petition, Mr. Arun said the ‘Giri Veedhi’ near the temple has become congested because of construction of commercial establishments by the temple administration.

At least 36 shops were constructed by the temple administration near the Kudamuzhukku Arangam on Giri Veedhi, without obtaining permission from the Palani Municipality.

These shops and several other shops owned by private parties were in violation of the Tamil Nadu Municipality Act and a hindrance during the Thai Poosam festival, he claimed.

Besides, encroachments on various roads across Dindigul district leading to Palani posed problems to the lakhs of devotees, mostly ‘padayatris’, who visit the temple, he added. The encroachments have resulted in several accidents wherein the devotees were injured, he further said.

He pleaded with the court to issue a direction to the District Collector and the Joint Commissioner of the Palani temple to take steps to prevent any accidents and to clear all encroachments. His representations to the officials went unanswered, he added. In their order, the judges directed the officials to consider the petitioner’s representation in accordance with law and ensure a smooth and an accident-free ‘Thai Poosam’.