The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy while passing interim orders on a plea seeking to abide by the agama shastras and hold all rituals and ceremonies relating to the temple said, “If it is possible to conduct the festivities without compromising on COVID protocol, every endeavour should be made to explore how the traditional festivals may be held.”
Also, the bench, seeking to include the temple priests and the petitioner Rangarajan Narasimhan while holding consultations on how the traditional ceremonies in the temple could be held without a break, directed the state to file a report within six weeks indicating the ceremonies to be held until July end.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice also orally observed that if the government has to take measures in a pandemic situation we will not seek to interfere. He also pointed out that the court wants to come to the aid of the devotees with the present scientific assistance.
“Now that we have the help of science, let us use science to promote your religious festivals upon maintaining hygienic conditions,” the Chief Justice added while making it clear that hygiene and COVID protocol cannot be compromised for the purpose of any religious celebrations and the celebrations have to be held upon maintaining the protocols at all times.
The petitioner had contended that the HR&CE was halting the conduct of the festivals at the Srirangam temple on its whims and fancies under the guise of COVID-19 related orders.