Asks him to approach HR&CE Department higher officials

The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday dismissed a writ petition filed by a priest (Archagar) challenging an order passed by the Executive Officer of Tiruchendur Subramaniaswamy Temple on February 23 appointing another individual to perform ‘Muraikala Puja' between 18th and 20th of every Tamil month. The petitioner had claimed to have hereditary right since 1975 to perform the Puja.

Stating that the materials available on record were insufficient for the court to decide the issue bypassing an alternative remedy provided under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, Justice K.K. Sasidharan directed the petitioner to appeal before an authority who was higher in rank to the temple's Executive Officer-cum-Joint Commissioner of the HR and CE department.

The petitioner, Sivasubramania Bhattar, had filed the petition claiming that he derived hereditary right to perform the puja from his father who was accorded the right by an order passed on January 10, 1975 by the then Executive Officer of the temple. He also contended that the right was accorded on his father pursuant to a decree passed by a civil court on November 6, 1972.

However, suddenly, the incumbent Executive Officer had appointed another individual by name K. Krishnamoorthy to do the puja though the latter had actually filed a civil suit claiming right to perform the puja but withdrew it subsequently. He attributed mala fide intention on the part of the Executive Officer for acting in support of Krishnamoorthy.

On the contrary, the Executive Officer filed a counter affidavit and pointed out that neither the petitioner nor his father enjoyed any kind of hereditary right to perform puja. Both of them were appointed only on a temporary basis and hence they could not claim any right over the matter.

The officer also said that one more priest, S. Gomathi Sankara Bhattar, had also filed a civil suit claiming similar right.

Pointing out that the petitioner had challenged the appointment only by claiming hereditary right, sans sufficient proof, and not on the ground that applications were not called for from eligible priest, the judge said that only the appellate authority under the HR and CE Act would be in a position to consider the factual matrix and appreciate the matter in the light of the previous proceedings.

  • Petitioner claims hereditary right since 1975 to perform the puja

  • Materials on record insufficient for court to decide issue: petitioner

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