The Madras High Court Bench here has restrained the Tirukkurungudi Jeer Mutt from shifting the idols of Lord Siva, Nandi, Vinayagar and Subramaniyar, uprooted from the Nambiraya Perumal Temple at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district in June 2004, to a new temple in the same village.

Passing interim orders in a civil revision petition filed by two devotees as representatives of followers of Saivism, Justice R.S.Ramanathan directed the Mutt to maintain status quo for two weeks. The idols were now kept inside ‘Dhaniyavasagam’ (a bag filled with paddy) as per religious customs.

The petitioners’ counsel M.Vallinayagam said that that the 1,300-year-old Nambiraya Perumal Temple was one among the 108 Divyadesams (holy abodes of Lord Vishnu). The main deity of the temple was rested in three different postures — sitting, standing and reclining — in separate shrines.

It was one of the few Vaishnavite temples that also had a shrine for Lord Siva. An idol of Lord Siva, known as Mahendra Giri Nadhar, was situated in front of the deity in the sitting posture. But the Jeer Mutt, which manages the institution, uprooted the idol along with few others and attempted to place it elsewhere, he said.

The devotees filed a civil suit before the Additional District Munsif at Nanguneri against shifting the idols. The suit was ordered in their favour on March 14, 2006. However, the Mutt appealed against the judgement before a sub-court at Valliyoor. In the meantime, the High Court also ordered to dispose of the appeal within a month.

Thereafter, the two devotees approached the Tirunelveli Principal District Court levelling allegations of bias against the sub-judge and sought to transfer the appeal to some other judicial officer. Even as the transfer petition was pending, the sub-judge posted the appeal for judgement on October 14 and hence the present revision petition.

Stating that the sub-judge had allowed the appeal and delivered a judgement on October 14 in favour of the Mutt despite the institution of the transfer petition and also the revision petition, the petitioner’s counsel apprehended that the Mutt might shift the idols to the new temple unless the High Court orders status quo.