The Madras High Court on Wednesday upheld an order of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department giving directions on the nature of worship, as ordained by Vallalar himself, at the Sathya Gnana Sabhai at Vadalur, Cuddalore district.

The rules extracted from the directives included that when ‘jyoti' is shown, people must stand in silence and chant the mantra “Arutperunjyothi, Arutperunjyothi.” They should not have faith in the Vedas, Agamas, Puranas and Itihas.

In his petitions, Sabanatha Oli Sivachariyar claimed to be the lineal descendant of the Adoor Sabhapathy Sivachariyar and hereditary Archaka of the sabhai, which was founded and established by Sri Chidambaram Ramalingam Maruthur, popularly known as Vallalar Ramalinga Adigal.

The petitioner claimed that Vallalar was a staunch devotee of Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram and had devoted his entire life for propagating Saivism. He had installed a ‘Spatika Lingam.'

The petitioner said there was a representation from a person, claiming to be a follower of Sri Vallalar, to the HR and CE Department stating that wrong rituals were being performed at Vadalur.

After an enquiry, the Joint Commissioner (JC), HR and CE Department, Villupuram, passed the impugned order dated September 18, 2006, directing certain forms of rituals to be performed. Direction was given to stop all other forms of rituals.

The petitioner's revision before the HR and CE Commissioner was rejected. Hence, the present petitions seeking to quash the department's order.

Earlier, two individuals had filed writ petitions. They contended that Sri Sabanatha Oli Sivachariyar had installed a ‘Siva Lingam' in the sabhai and started performing poojas to the ‘lingam, distributing sacred ash and ‘prasadam.' The High Court had then directed the department to take action on the petitioners' representations. Based on this, the JC conducted the enquiry.

The petitioner said the HR and CE Act did not empower the department to interfere in the institution's religious affairs. Such interferences were prohibited by constitutional rights. In his common order, quoting extensively from the writings of Sri Vallalar, Justice K. Chandru said the authorities had correctly taken note of the essence of Vallalar — a rejection of the idol form of worship and only worship of fire in the form of ‘jyoti;' there was no place for any established religion, but there was space for humanity and there were no distinctions based on caste or creed.

Sri Vallalar himself had made his directives in writings.

Therefore, there was no scope for any one to plead contra. Hence, the legal arguments by petitioner's counsel must necessarily fail.

Mr. Justice Chandru cited Supreme Court decisions that had a bearing on the issue. He dismissed the petitions as misconceived and lacking in merit.

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