Madras HC Dismisses PIL Challenging Vinayaka Chathurti Festival Regulations [Read Order]
“The petitioner has no constitutional or statutory right, to infringe the rights of a land owner, without his written consent, to install any idol, much less vinayagar statue in front of his house … Petitioner has no statutory or constitutional right, to install any idol, much less, vinayakar idol, without, No Objection Certificate from the local body/Highways or Department.”
The Madras High Court has dismissed a PIL challenging some regulations on installation and worship of Vinayakar idol, and its immersion in relation to Vinayaka Chathurti festival in the state.
- Sudalaiyandi, a lawyer, had challenged the following conditions in the guidelines framed in this regard:
- Any organiser intending to install Vinayakar idol should apply in a prescribed format (as in Form-I) to the Assistant Commissioners of Police concerned, where there are Police Commissionerates, and RDO/Sub-Collector in all other cases, at least a month in advance along with No Objection Certificates (NOCs) obtained from
- Landowner concerned. If the proposed land is a public land, NOC from the local bodies concerned/highways or the department concerned should be obtained;
- Fire and Rescue Services to the effect that temporary structures erected adhere to the fire safety standards;
- Vinayakar idols installed in public places for worship should be taken out for immersion within five days from the date of installation.
It was contended that getting permission from the landowner concerned would be difficult as no landowner would grant permission to put up a stage for Vinayakar idols in front of his house and that police may register false cases and it would be practically impossible for any organiser, intending to install Vinayakar idol to obtain NOC from the local bodies concerned/Highways or the Department, because due to political pressure, local bodies would not grant permission. It was also contended that immersion cannot be restricted to five days, and it would be against the constitutional and religious rights of Hindus, as compared to others, and therefore, it is violative of a fundamental right.
The bench of Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad, unimpressed with these contentions, observed: “The petitioner has no constitutional or statutory right, to infringe the rights of a land owner, without his written consent, to install any idol, much less vinayagar statue in front of his house. If there is infringement of a right to property, owner of the property, can always bring it to the notice of the law enforcing authority, or any other competent authority, as the case may be to protect his right to property. Apprehension of the petitioner that cases would be registered against a person, installing vinayakar idol, in front of his house, cannot be countenanced. Certainly, if the land is a public land, it requires permission from the local bodies concerned / Highways or the department. Petitioner has no statutory or constitutional right, to install any idol, much less, vinayakar idol, without, No Objection Certificate from the local body / Highways or Department.”
The court also rejected the challenge against restricting the festival to five days. It observed: “Time period that idol must be installed in a particular day, and should be immersed within a specified period cannot be ascertained, in a writ. If the petitioner contends that a minimum of ten days is required, then, substantiating facts, circumstances and evidence, it could be done only in a suit. Nothing has been produced that the time period, is an indicative part of religion, for which, a protection order has to be granted.”
“What is stated as regards period and practice in the State of Maharashtra cannot be imported to State of Tamil Nadu. For illustration, Durga Pooja is celebrated for 8 days in West Bengal, and not in Tamil Nadu. There is no violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” the court added.Read the Order Here