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Court said that since the petitioner was Saivait with a claim that only vegetarian foods were offered to the deity during the festival, therefore, although the other group claimed that there was a practice to offer non-vegetarian food to the deity, they had to respect the sentiment of the petitioner
The Madras High Court recently directed the devotees of the Selva Vinayagar Temple, Nallatchi Amman Temple, Thalavaimadasamy Temple, and Utchimakali Amman Temple in Tamaraiselvi hamlet, Itteari village, Tirunelveli District that if they wish to offer non-veg food to the temple deity during temple festival, they will have to file an application for the same before the Joint Commissioner of the HR & CE Department, Tirunelveli District and adduce evidence to establish that there had been a traditional practice of the same.
Court said that if such an application is filed, the Joint Commissioner will consider the same and pass appropriate orders.
The court passed the order in a writ petition filed for issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the local administration authorities to ensure adequate security for conducting festivals in the above-mentioned temples as per existing customary rituals.
The petitioner namely E.Sankaran claimed that his forefathers had established the temples in dispute. He submitted that he belonged to the Saiva Pillaimar community and during the festival period, only vegetarian foods are placed before the deities as offerings.
However, an impleadment request was made by other alleged devotees of the temples who claimed that there was a traditional practice from time immemorial that non-vegetarian foods are placed as offering during the festival in the concerned temples.
On the other hand, the Special Government Pleader appearing for the Joint Commissioner of the HR & CE Department submitted that they were not permitting the offering of non-vegetarian food during the festival to the deity.
He, however, told the court that if it directs the HR and CE Department to appoint any Special Officer to conduct the festival this year, the department is prepared to do the same.
Court noted that since the petitioner was Saivait with a claim that only vegetarian foods were offered to the deity during the festival, therefore, although the other group claimed that there was a practice to offer non-vegetarian food to the deity, they had to respect the sentiment of the petitioner.
Accordingly, court disposed of the petition with direction to the Joint Commissioner of the HR & CE Department, Tirunelveli District to appoint a Special Officer to the temples in dispute for conducting the festival for this year in a peaceful manner.
The Special Officer shall ensure that all the community people are permitted to offer worship, ordered the court.
Moreover, court directed the Inspector of Police, Muneerpallam Police Station, Tirunelveli District to provide adequate police protection for conducting the festival.
"If the other groups want to offer non-vegetarian food to the deity, they can file an application before the 2nd respondent / the Joint Commissioner adduce evidence, establish the same and get their grievance redressed and if such an application is filed, the 2nd respondent shall consider the same and pass appropriate orders, without being influenced by any of the observations made in this order. No costs. Consequently connected miscellaneous petition is closed," further ordered the court.
Case Title: E.Sankaran v. The District Collector, Tirunelveli District and Others
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