SC issues notice to TN govt on appointing non-Brahmin priests
During the hearing, Swamy sought an interim stay of the appointments order, saying, "Please give an interim stay on the appointment of Archakas by the State government, which is an atheistic government.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government on a plea by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against a State law authorising the government control over temples and appointment of non-Brahmins as 'Archakas' (priests) in the temples there. A bench headed by Justice Hemant Gupta sought a response from the government and tagged it with a similar petition pending before it. It also issued notice on the stay of government from any more appointments of priests.
During the hearing, Swamy sought an interim stay of the appointments order, saying, "Please give an interim stay on the appointment of Archakas by the State government, which is an atheistic government." Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had issued an order appointing non-Brahmins as priests in various temples of the State. Thereafter, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department of the State had issued appointment letters to 208 such priests.
The plea also challenged the provisions of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 granting the State government absolute control over the appointment and dismissal of 'Archakas' in the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu. It stated that the management and administration of temples, appointments and dismissals of 'Archakas' are a part of the right to practice, profess and propagate religion, protected under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.