Madras High Court Bars Entry of Non-Hindus Into Hindu Temples

Madurai: The Tamil Nadu HR&CE department was directed by the Madras High Court on Tuesday to install boards in all Hindu temples stating non-Hindus were not permitted beyond the ‘Kodimaram’ (flagpole) area in the respective shrines. The HR&CE department administers Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu.

Justice S Srimathy of the Madras HC’s Madurai Bench gave the judgement while hearing a plea from D Senthilkumar, who sought directions to the respondents to permit Hindus alone to the Arulmigu Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple and its sub-temples. The petitioner also wanted display boards to that effect in all entrances to be set up.

The famous Lord Murugan temple is located in Palani in Dindigul district.

The respondents were the Tamil Nadu government, represented by Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments, The Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) and the Executive Officer of the Palani temple.

Admitting the petition, the court directed the respondents to install boards indicating “non-Hindus are not allowed inside temple after Kodimaram” in the entrance of the temples, near the flagpole and at prominent places in the shrine.

“The respondents are directed not to allow the non-Hindus who do not believe in Hindu religion. If any Non-Hindu claims to visit particular deity in the temple, then the respondents shall obtain undertaking from the said non-Hindu that he is having faith in the deity and he would follow the customs and practices of Hindu religion and also abide by the temple customs and on such undertaking the said non-Hindu may be allowed to visit the temple,” the court ruled.

The respondents submitted the said writ petition was filed only for the Palani temple and the order may be restricted to it alone.

“But the issue raised is larger issue and the same ought to be applicable to all Hindu temples, hence the plea of the respondents is rejected. As stated supra these restrictions would ensure communal harmony among different religions and ensure peace in the society. Therefore the State Government, the HR&CE department, the respondents and all persons who are involved in temple administration are directed to follow the directions to all Hindu temples,” the court said.

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