The first division bench of acting Chief Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice J Sathya Narayana Prasad also directed TN to allow only 5,000 devotees from the Tiruvannamalai district and the rest would be from other parts of the State.
Following a plea by D Senthilkumar, a spokesperson with the Hindu Makkal Katchi, seeking that no restrictions be put on devotees who are willing to participate in the Karthigai Deepam festival, the bench observed, “No entry passes should be given to people who fail to produce the vaccination certificates.”
The petitioner had contended that the Tiruvannamalai district administration and government authorities were putting out confusing announcements regarding permission for devotees to participate in the festival. However, R Shunmugasundaram, Advocate General (AG) submitted that if there is no restriction, at least 20 lakh people would arrive in a single day and it would become difficult to control the crowd, especially during the pandemic. He clarified that the government decided to allow 3,000 locals from Tiruvannamalai district and 7,000 people from outside. The petitioner strongly objected and wanted all devotees be allowed. The AG also filed an affidavit on behalf of the HR & CE Department on 5,000 people from Tiruvannamalai district and 15,000 from other districts be allowed on Friday and Saturday after they provided certificates. After hearing the submissions by the AG, the HC decided on 20,000 devotees to be allowed for the girivalam. “No devotees would be allowed into the temple except 300 kattalaitharars,” the HC held.