A division bench comprising Justice C V Karthikeyan and Justice Krishnan Ramasamy before whom the plea came up refused to interfere with the circular, which is based on religious beliefs.
Also, accounting for the submission made by HR&CE counsel that Thiruganasambandar’s Panchagam written thousands of years ago details about the yagnas that should be held for the sake of rains, the bench wondered as to whether Western astrologers can make predictions about the eclipses that can occur within the next five months like what Tamil astrologers do.
However, the bench dismissed the petition on holding that such yagnas are done for people’s welfare and that the courts cannot interfere with aspects that revolve around religious beliefs.
The petitioner, V Anbazhagan, editor of a web magazine, had submitted that the circular issued by the HR&CE commissioner is without jurisdiction and is creating a situation whereby rituals prescribed by HR&CE to be done at a large scale will spread irrational thinking, hinder rational and progressive thinking of citizens.
While it is the duty of the government to direct the citizens to enforce schemes to save rainwater, grow trees, increase green cover and remove encroachments in waterways, the petitioner said the State without doing the same is promoting ‘yagnas’ for rain causing financial loss to the public and religious institutions.
He also noted that an individual or a group of people who profess religious activity can do anything like prayer, conduct yagnas and fasting. However, the State should not resort to such activities using HR&CE’s money, especially when it is against the Constitution wherein Article 51(a)(h) seeks to develop scientific temper, humanism, spirit of inquiry and reform.