The Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition filed before its Madurai Bench alleging that a group of people worshipping two deities at a temple in Jayamangalam of Theni district had excommunicated another group worshipping a third deity at the same temple.

Justice M. Duraiswamy said that the High Court could not issue directions to the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police to initiate action against the alleged perpetrators as the issue involved disputed questions of fact, which could be solved only by adducing evidence before a competent civil court.

However, the judge observed: No person or group of persons or anybody could prevent a person from worshipping his/her deity or practising or professing his/her religion. If such an event comes to the notice of the official respondents, they are bound to take action in accordance with law.

According to petitioner V. Karuppiah, 80 families belonging to the same community were residing at Gandhi Nagar East Colony in Jayamangalam. These families were worshipping three different deities Lord Madurai Veeran, Goddess Pattalamman and Lord Karuppasamy in a temple in their village.

It was recently decided to conduct Kumbabhishekam (consecration) of the temple by collecting donations known as Thalaikattu Vari from the villagers. There was a dispute between the community members and around 25 families worshipping Lord Karuppasamy were prevented from entering the temple, the petitioner alleged.

On the other hand, Government Advocate D. Gandhiraj said that the police had received complaints and counter complaints from both groups. The picture of Lord Karuppasamy had not been printed in receipts issued for collecting donations, he said and added that the dispute could not be adjudicated through a writ petition.

Agreeing with submissions made by the Government Advocate, the Judge said that the Constitutional right to practice a religion was subject to public order. Therefore, whatever right which according to the petitioner relates to worshipping their God Karuppasamy cannot be infringed but such a right is subject to public order.

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