Thursday, February 22, 2024

Irregularity in prayers at Tirupati Balaji: Supreme Court gives one week to TTD to file report

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted one week time to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) to clarify whether there were any irregularities in the conduct of rituals and prayers at the Tirupati Balaji temple.

The Bench, led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana and also comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli, adjourned the hearing to October 6, after the Standing Counsel appearing for the respondent (TTD) asked one week time to take instructions.

The petition was filed by devotee of Lord Balaji named Srivari Daadaa, who claimed to be a devotee of Sri Venkateswara Swamy, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam. He alleged that respondent (TTD) is performing sevas namely, (i) Abhishekam Seva, (ii) Thomala Seva, (iii) Arjitha Brahmostavam (iv) Yekanta Utsavalu (Srivari Varshika Brahmotsavams-2020) and (v) Maha Laghu Darshan, in a wrongful and irregular procedure. The petition sought directions to the respondent-Devasthanam to rectify the method of holding the aforesaid rituals.

Justice Ramana told the petitioner,

“You’re a devotee of Balaji? Devotees have a lot of patience. This is a PIL and you keep threatening the registry everyday that if they don’t list the matter, you will do this or that. What’s the emergency? Can the court interfere in how the Puja is to be conducted or how many people can do the Puja? How does Puja have to be conducted is a fundamental right? How can we interfere?”

The CJI then asked the Advocate appearing for TTD what happened to the representation filed by the petitioner?

“He’s bringing to notice of you and the court that there are some irregularities in the conduct of ceremonies and pujas. It’s not about the legal right. I am a devotee of Balaji, my brother and sister Judges, we are all devotees of Balaji and expect that all rituals will be conducted according to the traditions. You find out what happened to his representation and get back to us,”

-ordered the Bench.

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The CJI then started speaking to the petitioner in Telugu.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had previously dismissed the PIL of Srivari Daadaa on the same issue, while holding that the same was not maintainable. The High Court had held that the procedure of conducting rituals is the exclusive domain of the Devasthanams and cannot be a matter of adjudication unless it impacts secular or civil rights of others. “The respondent-Devasthanams cannot be said to be discharging public duties in the matter of conducting rituals. Such activities falling within the ecclesiastical domain are not amenable to writ jurisdiction at the behest of an outsider,” noted the High Court and dismissed the PIL for being devoid of merits.

Case Name:- Srivari Daadaa vs Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams

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