It is a settled fact that the Chidambaram Sri Sabanayagar temple is a denominational temple and a Division Bench of the High Court had held that Podhu Dikshidars were a “religious denomination” within the meaning of Article 26 of the Constitution, Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said on Tuesday.

In written arguments in an appeal against a single judge’s order dismissing a petition challenging the government appointment of an Executive Officer for the temple, Dr. Swamy, who has filed a petition seeking to implead himself in the case, submitted that Articles 25 and 26 protected the fundamental right to freedom of religion.

Secular duties insofar as a denominational institution was concerned were fully circumscribed by Article 26.

In the present case, it was believed by worshippers that the Dikshidars were also the owners of the temple and that Lord Shiva was one of the Dikshidars.

Thus, this was part of the religious beliefs protected under Article 25. Therefore, they could not be taken away by legislation.

Without properly understanding the position of law, official authorities, “relying on vague, stale and irrelevant facts,” had issued the order appointing the Executive Officer. This was violative of the provisions of the Constitution.

Dr. Swamy submitted that not only Dikshidars but also Hindus were seriously affected by the single judge’s order.