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Madras High Court – Court Orders Restoration of Palani Murugan Temple Display Board Prohibiting Entry for Non-Hindus

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Madurai/Chennai. Madras High Court has ordered a status quo ante in the Arulmighu Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple by directing the respondent authorities to restore the display board stating that non-Hindus are not allowed in the temple.

Justice S Srimathy of the Madurai bench made the direction in a plea by D Senthilkumar, organizer of Palani Hill Temple Devotees Organization, who moved the court after noting that recently non-Hindus had purchased tickets to reach the Hilltop temple and when they were not allowed to the temple, had argued saying that the hilltop was a tourist place and could be visited by outsiders. Senthilkumar sought a direction to permit only Hindus to the Hill temple premises and its sub-temples and to ensure display boards in the temple.

The petitioner argued that the entry to temples is governed by Tamil Nadu Entry Authorization Act, 1947 and the rules framed thereunder in G.O.(Ms).No.164 Firka Development, dated 23.03.1948, wherein it is clearly stated that non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the temple or offer worship or bath in or use the waters of any sacred tank, well, spring or water-course appurtenant to the temple.

Senthilkumar also contended that under Article 15(2) of the Constitution, temples cannot be used as picnic spots. He further informed the court that though earlier there were display boards in all temples exhibiting that non-Hindus are not allowed in temples, these boards were removed.

The court thus directed that the status quo ante should be maintained and directed the authorities to ensure such display boards are present at the temple.

“Therefore, this Court is inclined to grant interim status quo ante. The respondents are directed to restore the Board and maintain status quo ante. In the meanwhile, the respondents are directed to file counter,” the court said.

The State had argued that under Articles 13 and 15 of the Constitution of India, especially, under clause 15(1), the rights of other persons are protected.

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