The Madras High Court on Friday kept in abeyance the order of the Single judge allowing two sects- Thengalai sect and the Vadagalai Sect to chant the initial recital namely Srisaila Dayapathram. at the Devarajaswamy temple in Kancheepuram.
The single judge had passed the order in a writ petition questioning the validity of notices issued by the Assistant Commissioner/Executive Trustee of the Arulmighu Devarajaswamy Thirukkovil regulating the Temple activities including observance of poojas and rituals. The Executive Trustee in his order had permitted only the Tengalai Sect to chant the recitals which was challenged.
When the appeal came up for hearing, the bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice G.K Ilanthiraiyan was informed that other cases with respect to disputes between the sects were pending before different benches of the High Court. The court therefore opined that all of these connected matters needed to be heard together and directed the registry to post all the matters after summer vacations.
"As agreed by both the parties in order to give quietus to the issues involved herein, all the connected matters are directed to be posted after summer vacation along with present writ appeals after obtaining orders from Honourable Chief Justice. Till such time notice dated 14.05.2022 issued by Assistant Commissioner/Executive Trustee of Arulmighu Devarajaswamy Temple Thirukoil Kancheepuram and the order of the learner single judge dated 18.05.2022 in WMP 12434 of 2022 in WP 12955 of 2022 shall be kept in abeyance"
The appellants (Thengalai Sect) submitted before the court that Thengalai sect had the exclusive right to chant the recitals and this position was cemented by the judgment of the High Court in 1915. The appellants informed the court that the Vadagalai sect had previously filed another suit for similar relief which was dismissed by the High Court in the year 1969.
The appellants submitted that the High Court had in 1915 specifically held that during the puja period, that is, from the commencement of the puja to its end. i.e, till the distribution of the theertham and the prasadanam, the Vadagaalais cannot repeat any prabandham of their own, but are only entitled to join the Tengalais as worshippers by reciting the same prabandhams which they recite.
Therefore, the appellant submitted that the Vadagalai sect could not chant their own recitals as the court had specifically restrained them from doing so. Thus, the Thengalai sect alone had the preferential exclusive right to chant recitals in the temple.
Senior Advocate Mr P Wilson, Senior Advocate ARL Sundaresan, Mrs Hema Sampath appeared for the appellants Thengalai Sect while the respondents Vadagalai sect were represented by Senior Advocate Mr G Rajagopal, Senior Advocate Mr Satish Parasaran and Mr V Raghavachari. Advocate General Mr. R Shanmuga Sundaram represented the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department.