The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a batch of petitions, seeking direction to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department to conduct the consecration ceremony of Brihadeeswarar Temple, popularly called Big Temple, in Tamil alone.
A division bench comprising Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice T Ravindran, after taking cognisance of the counter filed by the HR and CE Department that the consecration ceremony would be conducted in both Tamil and Sanskrit, has dismissed the petitions.
Observing that no constitutional violations were found in the procedure adopted by the government for conducting consecration ceremony, especially with respect to language, the court said it was not the case that Sanskrit was preferred and Tamil was being ignored. The judges observed in the order that the court should be hesitant and reluctant in interfering with religious festivals and ceremonies of temples unless it is established that the same were in violation of the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
Since the Tamil Nadu government had assured that Tamil language would be given its due prominence during the consecration ceremony as per “agama” principles as done earlier and that Sanskrit has not been given any special status particularly by ignoring Tamil language, we do not find sufficient cause to accede to the case filed by the petitioners, the judges said.
The court also recorded the government’s contentions in its counter-affidavit that sufficient “Odhuvars” have been engaged to chant Tamil Thirumurai and that the “Dhaanam” would be distributed to each and every worker of the temple without any caste discrimination.
The judges directed the HR and CE Department and Temple management to file a compliance report on the conduct of the ceremony in four weeks to the Registry.
The HR and CE Department submitted before the court that due importance would be given to Tamil and Sanskrit at the temple consecration and in accordance with “agamas”.
It also submitted that the same procedure that was followed while performing the consecration ceremonies in 1980 and 1997 would be followed in the forthcoming consecration ceremony as well.