Archakas Assn seeks legislation on appointment of priests

The court has ordered that a committee headed by retired High Court judge Chokkalingam comprising Madras Sanskrit College prof Gopalsami and three others to identify agamic and non-agamic temples under HR and CE control. “Appointment of priests in the agama temples should be as per the agamas. If not, they could challenge in the high court, ” it said.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: Despite various political parties welcoming the Madras High Court order on the appointment of all caste archakas, the Association for Trained Archakas - Tamil Nadu has urged the State government, following a recent court order, to introduce a new law to ensure equality in the appointment of priests in all the temples including agama temples.

“The Centre had enacted special laws when the Supreme Court judgment went against Jallikattu and the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Like the NEET issue, the State government should enact a law on the archakas issue by consulting legal experts. If the Governor created a hurdle for this, we can expose the BJP which is against the majority Hindus,” V Ranganathan, president, of the association and Advocate C Vanjinathan of People’s Right Protection Centre said in a statement.

In the order dated August 14, the Madras High Court stated that the Tamil Nadu Religious Institutions Employees (Conditions of Service) Rule, 2020 would not be applicable to the temples following agamas, they noted. “From the appointment of priests, all the activities in such temples should follow Agamas principles, ” they quoted the court order.

The court has ordered that a committee headed by retired High Court judge Chokkalingam comprising Madras Sanskrit College prof Gopalsami and three others to identify agamic and non-agamic temples under HR and CE control. “Appointment of priests in the agama temples should be as per the agamas. If not, they could challenge in the high court, ” it said.

Ranganathan said, “Only Brahmins and their sub-sects could be appointed in the agama temples, adding that the government advocates told the court to exempt the application of the service rules in temples following agamas.

“Instead of arguing in favour of the rules, the advocates had argued against the government’s policy,” he charged. He also alleged that when his association and 12 non-Brahmin priests filed an implead petition, it was rejected by the High Court but the advocates did utter a word for their support.

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