Written by Vidisha Mathur
In the recent case of C. Soman v Secretary, Hindu Religious Charitable Department, and Others – the Petitioner called on the Madras High Court to solicit a direction that person belonging to religions other than Hinduism should not be allowed to participate in the Hindu celebration of Kumbabishegam Festival of Arulmighu Adikeseva Perumal Thirukovil at Thiruvattar.
This Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was brought forth to the Division Bench, constituted by Justice P.N. Prakash and Justice R. Hemalatha – as the result of an invitation to conduct the Kumbabishegam festival was extended to a Christian minister.
It held that the Kumbabishegam festival was a public celebration and hence, realistically, it would be impossible for the authorities to question and check the religious identity of each devotee who wishes to enter the temple.
The court also held that irrespective of whether such a prohibition is possible, any person who has faith in the Hindu deity cannot be prevented from entering the temple nor can they be prohibited; even if they are not Hindu or profess a different religion.
In furtherance of its stand, the court called attention to how devotional songs dedicated to various Hindu deities sung by Dr. K.J. Yesudas, who is a Christian by birth, are played, without apprehension in many places of worship, including the Velankanni Church and the Nagore Dargah.
Hence, the petition was dismissed.