The Madras High Court on Friday directed a committee, constituted for the purpose of identifying Agamic temples in the State, to take up the additional work of finding out whether a peacock idol at the Punnai Vana Nathar Sannidhi of the Kapaleeswarar Temple at Mylapore in Chennai must be carrying a snake or a flower in its beak.
Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala passed the orders while disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by Rangarajan Narasimhan of Srirangam, who had also lodged a police complaint alleging that the original idol carrying flower in its beak was stolen in 2004 and replaced with another idol carrying a snake.
Since Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram informed the court that the investigation in the criminal case had been completed and a charge sheet was filed before the competent court, the judges decided to take a call only with respect to the need or otherwise of changing the existing idol carrying a snake in its beak.
Pointing out that that they had ordered constitution of a committee headed by retired judge M. Chockalingam to identify the temples constructed as per different Agama Sastras in the State so that the priests for those temples could be appointed accordingly, the judges said the same committee could go into the present issue too.
There were 28 Saiva Agama Sastras. Therefore, the committee should first ascertain the Agama Sastra under which the Kapaleeswarar Temple falls and then find out whether the peacock idol should be carrying a flower or a snake on its beak as per the relevant Agama. Such exercise should be carried out after hearing all parties concerned, the Bench said.
If the committee was of the view that the idol should be carrying a flower, then the existing idol carrying a snake must be replaced. Otherwise, the idol need not be disturbed, the Bench clarified and restrained the petitioner as well as the other parties involved in the case from indulging in undesirable activities of trading charges against each other.