Madurai

No permission required to conduct temple festival: HC

A view of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court

A view of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court | Photo Credit: R. ASHOK

While disposing of a petition that sought direction to the authorities to grant permission to conduct a temple festival in Virudhunagar district, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that such a permission was not required to conduct the temple festival.  If threat to maintenance of law and order is imminent, then the executive magistrate or the police are bound to intervene.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed that the Constitution confers certain fundamental rights. Article 19 (1) (b) states that all citizens shall have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. Article 25 (1) states that subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part III, all persons are equally entitled to freely practice religion.

The court referred to the Supreme Court judgments and a judgement of the Madras High Court that held that administrative inconvenience or anticipated incidents may not be cited as the reason to stop established customs and practices.

The judge said that the Tamil Nadu District Police Act which provides for the presence of police personnel in any public meeting or assembly or procession states that this requirement will not apply to any assembly or meeting of a purely religious character held in a recognised place of worship.

The Chennai City Police Act, which contains the power to regulate assemblies, meetings and processions in public places etc., in Sub-Section 8 states that nothing in the Section shall apply to any assembly or meeting of a purely religious character held in a recognised place of worship, the judge said.

The judge observed that a Division Bench of the Madras High Court had held that religious meetings can be held without taking any permission at all.

“Of course, the authorities cannot remain a silent spectator if there is breach of public tranquillity. If threat to maintenance of law and order is imminent, then also the executive magistrate or the police are bound to intervene. So long as there is no such situation, the authorities have no role in the matter”, the judge said.

The court was hearing a petition filed by P. Seeni of Virudhunagar district who sought a direction to the authorities to consider the petitioner’s representation and grant permission to conduct temple festival in Sri Rajakaliamman Temple and Pattathu Amman Temple in Valayapatti Village in Virudhunagar District.

Taking note of the fact that the scope of the petition was confined to a temple festival that has been celebrated from time immemorial every year in the village and since the petition was filed seeking direction to the authorities to grant permission, the judge held that no such permission was required.


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Printable version | Sep 6, 2022 7:07:10 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/no-permission-required-to-conduct-temple-festival-hc/article65776474.ece