INDIA, March 5, 2023 (Organiser): Justice G.R. Swaminathan of Madurai bench Madras High Court on February 3rd set aside the appointment of two non-Brahmin priests of Arulmighu Subramaniya Swamy temple at Kumaravayalur of Srirangam taluk in Tiruchy, on the grounds that they do not come under the denomination of Adi Saivars or Sivachariyars or Gurukkals and therefore are ineligible to be appointed in the agamic temple. The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court directed the fit person of the temple to consider appointing Brahmin priests K. Karthick and S. Parameswaran to the posts. The court passed the order on the petitions filed by Karthick and Parameswaran challenging the appointment of the non-Brahmin priests S. Prabhu and S. Jayabalan.

The Tamil Nadu Government issued a General Order, followed by an amendment in the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959, to the effect that any person who is a Hindu and possesses requisite qualification and training can be appointed as archaka in Hindu temples. But Justice Swaminathan noted that the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition filed by Sivacharyargal Nala Sangam in 2016, had opined that the said General Order has the potential of falling foul of the dictum laid down by it in one of Seshammal’s case. He pointed out, “In Seshammal’s case, the top court had held that “…failure to appoint Archaka from a specified denomination, sect or group in accordance with the directions of the Agamas governing the temple, would not only be contrary to Section 28(1) of the HR and CE Act but also interferes with a religious practice.”

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