The Madras High Court recently dismissed a PIL against opening of Hindu temples at mid-night for 'western' New Year celebration
According to A.Ashvathaman, a lawyer, who approached the High Court, as per Aagama Rule, temple should be closed around 9 p.m., every day, after solemnising the "Arthajama pooja" and it should be opened between 4.30 a.m., and 6.00 a.m., which is called as Brahma Muhurtham. He contended that even though there is lot of opposition from Hindu people and Hindu Institutions, the Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, has permitted opening of Hindu temples at mid-night for western New Year celebration. If this undue procedure of opening Hindu temples at mid-night is allowed, it would sabotage the values of Hindu & Tamil culture and violate the rights conferred under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, he further contended.
Refusing to accept his contention, the bench comprising Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that several thousands of people go to temples on January 1st of every year, and it has become the practice of many, for several years. It said:
"Religious practices not opposed to public order, health, morality and other parts of the Constitution of India, cannot be curtailed by a Writ of Mandamus. Petitioner, as a matter of right cannot seek for a prayer to close down the temples on January 1st of every year"
Advocate Ashvathaman also brought to the notice of the bench a notification by Andhra Pradesh Government, giving specific instructions to Hindu temples not to celebrate the western New Year and not to open Hindu temples at midnight as the same is not in line with the Indian Vedic System. But the court observed that this notification is not binding on the State of Tamil Nadu.
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