India law

Supreme  Court  refuses to vacate order  on temple  priests

By  Our Legal  Corrrespondent

New  Delhi, Nov 10 (IVC)   The  Supreme  Court  on Nov 08 did  not vacate  or  modify its  September 25  interim order issuing  status  quo  in the Archakaship in the  temples  governed  by the  age-old  Agamas in Tamil  Nadu.

                The status quo order  was passed  on the basis  of a series  of petitions alleging  that the  State government  was  attempting  to appoint “non-believers” as  Archakas  (priests) contrary  to the Agamas (post-Vedic scripture of ritual  knowledge).

                “Let our  status quo order  continue. Heavens will not  fall”, Justice  M M Sundresh ,  on a Bench headed by  Justice A S  Bopanna said ,listing  the  case for  January 25, 2024 training  school. “

                Senior  Advocate Dusayant  Dave, appearing  for  the  State Government, urged  the  court to  lift  the  stay order. Mr  Dave  said  the  status quo  order would freeze  the  filling of  2405 vacancies for Archakaship in  the  Agamic temples. Further, it  would  impact the required  training contemplated  for  persons who  had completed  courses  from the  Archaka    training  school .”This will  cause  great  hardship in performing poojas in Agamic temples”, he  stressed.

                The  government had filed an urgent application for  the vacation of the interim  order on the petitions  filed  by  several  parties , including All India Adi Saiva Sivachayargal Seva  Association , represented  by  senior  advocates Guru Krishnakumar, P Valliappan and  advocate C Balaji to quash  the  government  directives  in July and August  to “ train  persons in  the  performance  of  poojas/ceremonies/rituals,  contrary to  the  Agamas”.  

                Senior  advocates C S Vaidyanathan and Vikas  Singh , also  for  the  petitioners arraigned  against  the  State  government , said the  government by “appointing  and transferring  Archakas , has  virtually taken  over the  running of  the  Agama  temples”.  Mr  Dave  countered that appointments  were a secular  function of the government.

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