CHENNAI, INDIA, March 27, 2018 (Indian Express): The Madras High Court has held that centuries-old religious customs and practises cannot be stopped by government machinery by citing administrative inconvenience or anticipated trouble, unless such events become unlawful in present times. The court was disposing a petition by an executive trustee of Sri Kamatchi Amman temple in Cuddalore district, assailing an order of the local police refusing permission to the temple car festival conducted during the night.
Justice K. Ravichandrabaabu directed the Revenue Divisional Officer, Cuddalore, to pass appropriate orders on the plea to permit the temple to take out the car during night time on the day of Panguni Uthiram festival on March 31. The police shall also extend sufficient protection at the time of conduct of such festival, the judge said. He said it was not in dispute that the temple had been conducting the car festival every year in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April) during night hours based on some astronomical calculations. Police cannot ignore the fact that the festival was being conducted for centuries during night hours and therefore, such custom and practice cannot be changed by the officials casually by the stroke of pen.