The Madras High Court has ruled that the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam at Thiruvannamalai cannot be brought under the control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE).
It quashed a show-cause notice issued by the department asking the trust management as to why it should not be brought under the direct control of HR&CE and seeking explanation.
Justice K. Chandru gave the ruling while disposing a writ petition filed by the manager of trust seeking to quash the show cause notice.
“The petitioner trust is not a Hindu religious charity. It is a public charitable trust with the intention to propagate yoga and meditation worldwide. Therefore the activity of the Nithyananda Dhyanapeedam run by the petitioner trust cannot be considered to a Hindu institution, so as to be covered by the provisions of the HR&CE Act.”
With Swami Nithyanana as the sole trustee, Nithynanda Dhyanapeetam was established in 2005 and registered with authorities in Karnataka. The public charitable trust’s branch is also situated at Adiannamalai, Thiruvannamalai district.
On November11, 2012, the Assistant Commissioner of HR &CE Department, Tiruvannamalai, issued the show cause notice to the trust. The officer stated that an inspector of the department had conducted an enquiry and found that the place was used by Hindu devotees who thronged the institution as a place of Hindu public religious worship.
The manager of the Dhyanapeetam filed a petition seeking to quash the notice. G. Rajagopal, senior counsel for the petitioner, contended that the trust was neither a mutt nor a temple and it was not its intention to confine the activities to the Hindu religious community alone.
Disposing of the petition, Mr. Justice Chandru said it could be seen that the trust deed does not show that it is intended to be created as a Hindu religious institution, whereas the organisation was open to all persons without caste, creed or religion. Setting aside the show-cause notice, he noted, “The Inspector of HR &CE had not collected material particulars of the trust, including the trust deed, before sending the report.”