Madras High Court directs Tamil Nadu govt to ensure education of minor priest in Ooty

The first bench of the Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and PD Audikesavalu passed the direction to the State on disposing of a petition filed by D Sivan, a resident of Kottabettu Village, Kotagiri, The Nilgiris.
Madras High Court directs Tamil Nadu govt to ensure education of minor priest in Ooty
Madras High Court (File Photo)

Chennai

The Madras High Court has ordered the State government to ensure the education of an 8-year-old boy who has been serving as a full-time priest of Sri Hethai Ammal Temple in Naduhatty Village in Ooty.
The first bench of the Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and PD Audikesavalu passed the direction to the State on disposing of a petition filed by D Sivan, a resident of Kottabettu Village, Kotagiri, The Nilgiris.
The petitioner prayed for a direction to the State government to resume the schooling of the minor boy who was appointed as a full-time priest by staying all the time in the temple which is against the Right to Education Act, 2009.
The HC decided to close the petition since the State government pleader P Muthukumar submitted that the government is offering education to the boy.
The State has also filed a counter that as per the customs of the Badaga tribal people, the boy has to be served as a priest at Hethai Amman Temple. “The minor boy is pursuing his studies. He was admitted in Class 1 in the year 2019 and presently, pursuing his studies in Class 3 and thus, the grievance raised by the petitioner in the public interest litigation has been redressed,” the government said in its counter.
However, Thanga Vadhana, counsel for the petitioner submitted that the child could not be forced to become a priest and at the same time, deprived of his right to education.
When the State submitted that the education is imparted to the minor boy, the petitioner said that the EMIS number given to the child is not reflected on the website.
R Shunmugasundaram, Advocate General, refuted that contention submitting that the EMIS number has been generated for the student.
On recording those submissions, the bench disposed of the petition contending that the grievance of the petitioner has been addressed.
“If there is any right of the child has been infringed, he can resort to the remedy provided under Section 13 read with Section 27 of the Commissions for Protection of Child Right Act, 2005. It is made clear that the respondents would arrange for the continuous study of the boy,” the ACJ noted.

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