The petition was moved by R Ponnusamy, a Coimbatore-based industrialist, against the government’s decision to close all temples in the State on account of COVID pandemic.
“The decision of the State government closing temples during this Navrathiri festival season has encroached the fundamental right to practise, profess and propagate guaranteed under the Article 25 of the constitution,” the petitioner’s counsel submitted.
He further stated a lot of women devotees used to offer prayers and do worship only on Fridays during Navrathiri. “Also, the devotees used to offer special prayers on Saraswati Puja and Viajayadashami. But, the government, though it knew very well about the importance of these days, very adamantly refused to permit the temples to open for worship during Puja festival days,” Ponnusamy said in his affidavit.
Pointing out that buses, schools, colleges and even fish markets were kept open, and that people were making a beeline to the fish markets on weekends, he questioned what made the government to close temples on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“There are thousands of public used to throng at Kasimedu fish market without following the COVID safety protocols, especially maintaining the mandatory social distancing,” the petitioner submitted.
He wanted temples to be opened during the Navrathiri season, especially on the day of Vijayadashami on Friday. The petition will be heard by the vacation bench comprising Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Abdul Quddhose.