He has started demolishing an ancient structure, says Subramanian Swamy

The Supreme Court on Monday restrained the Executive Officer appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to administer the Natarajar temple in Chidambaram from making any further construction or demolition of any structure in the temple.

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac passed the interim order after Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy alleged that the Executive Officer was demolishing the structures and said he should be restrained from permanently damaging the temple's sacred character. The Bench, however, said simple repairs could be carried out. It posted the matter for the final hearing on August 3.

Dr. Swamy said the Executive Officer had started demolishing an ancient structure meant for storing ‘puja' and ‘prasad' materials and talked about putting up new concrete structures for his offices. He said there could be no scope for putting up any modern structure in the temple's sacred precincts. All constructions must be of a sacred nature, in consonance with the requirements of the scriptures.

He said that if new structures were allowed, it would result in an irreversible damage. He argued that Chidambaram Podu Dikshitars had been recognised as a religious minority by the Supreme Court, and this judgment had become a res judicata. Hence, the Dikshidars and their temple would be entitled to the protection under Article 26 of the Constitution, and the provisions of the Hindu Religious and Endowments Act would not apply. Senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for the Dikshitars, pointed out that there was an interim stay operating in favour of the Dikshitars from 1987 till February 2009, and it must continue. However, senior counsel Ashok Desai, appearing for the State, opposed the interim stay and denied that any construction was being carried out.

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