Archakas To Be In Service As Long As They Are Physically Fit: T&AP HC [Read Order]

Archakas To Be In Service As Long As They Are Physically Fit: T&AP HC [Read Order]

“The T.T.D. ought to have taken note of the fact that the State Government as well as the Supreme Court have time and again treated hereditary Archakas as a special category entitled to special benefits (not on par with other employees of the TTD) notwithstanding the abolition of hereditary rights.”

The High Court of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has quashed an order of Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD) retiring two Sambhavana Archakas and directed it to allow them to discharge their duties as such as long as they are physically fit.

In an order issued by Executive officer, it was stated that A.B. Seshadri and M.G. Murali should be retired from service as Sambhavana Archakas in Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Tiruchanur, with immediate effect, as they have attained 65 years of age. The duo challenged this order assailing the action of the TTD in treating them as employees of the TTD and applying to them the Employee Service Rules which provide superannuation at 65 years of age.

Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao noted that these priests belong to the four families of Archaka Mirasidars (hereditary Archakas) and they had been appointed as Archakas in Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Tiruchanur on 10.02.2006.

The court also noted that there is no rule framed as yet by the state government regarding age of superannuation to persons like the petitioners, who belong to the families of erstwhile hereditary Archakas, and who have been employed as Archakas on 10.02.2006.

The T.T.D. ought to have taken note of the fact that the State Government as well as the Supreme Court have time and again treated hereditary Archakas as a special category entitled to special benefits (not on par with other employees of the TTD) notwithstanding the abolition of hereditary rights with a view to preserve customs and usage and sanctity of religious rituals handed to the present generation of Archakas from their ancestors from generation to generation and ensure that traditional temple rituals are performed strictly as per the particular sastra governing the temple. In my considered opinion, the Trust Board of the T.T.D. did not keep in mind the above relevant factors in mind and erroneously came to the conclusion that rules applicable to other employees of T.T.D. including age of superannuation automatically apply to the petitioners as well,” Justice Rao said.

Setting aside the order, the court directed the TTD to restore their services as Sambhavana Archakas in Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Tiruchanur, and allow them to discharge their duties as such as long as they are physically fit.

Read the Order Here