A special bench comprising judges R Mahadevan and Abdul Quddhose on hearing a petition by R Ponnusamy, a resident from Coimbatore, who sought directions to open the temples on Vijayadashami, held that the State government has to take a call on the matter.
As Tamil Nadu Advocate General (AG) R Shanmugasundaram informed that Chief Minister MK Stalin will chair a meeting on Wednesday with the expert committee to decide on opening the temples, the bench left the matter to the State.
The petitioner had submitted that closing temples citing the COVID-19 pandemic are unconstitutional and against Article 25 of the Constitution. “The government has ordered the opening of schools and colleges. A huge crowd is rushing to the Kasimedu fish market on Saturdays and Sundays. However, closing down of temples on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays is against the interest of the devotees,” the petitioner submitted through his counsel Krishna Moorthy.
“Hindu women and devotees worship and offer special prayers on the Vijayadashami day and it is essential to open the temple on that holy occasion,” the petitioner said.
However, the AG submitted before the bench that the State has decided as per the guidelines of the Union of India. “The Union Government has issued certain guidelines to prevent the surge of COVID-19 cases. As Centre’s guidelines advise to close places of worship, the State has adhered to that,” the AG said.
After hearing the submission, the bench said it would not direct anything to the State and it is up to the government to take a call.