Same dis­tance from de­ity for paid, free dar­shan

The New Indian Express - - FRONT PAGE - EX­PRESS NEWS SER­VICE @ Chennai

THE Madras High Court on Mon­day di­rected the au­thor­i­ties of big tem­ples in the State to en­sure equal or same dis­tance be­tween the deities and the devo­tees for ‘paid’ and ‘free’ dar­shans.

The first bench of Chief Jus­tice Indira Banerjee and Jus­tice M Sun­der gave the di­rec­tive while en­ter­tain­ing a PIL pe­ti­tion from the Indic Col­lec­tive Trust, which sought a di­rec­tion to the HR&CE board to abol­ish the sys­tem of grant­ing ad­van­tages to devo­tees in the “paid dar­shan queue” at Sri An­dal Tem­ple in Sriv­il­liput­tur, Ekam­baranathar Tem­ple in Kancheep­u­ram and Op­pil­i­ap­pan Tem­ple in Thirunageswaram.

Ir­re­spec­tive of paid or un­paid devo­tees, the dar­shan of the de­ity shall be pro­vided from one and the same dis­tance to all, the bench said.

Ac­cord­ing to the pe­ti­tion filed by its man­ag­ing trustee G Aravin­dalochanan, he had vis­ited the three tem­ples with the be­lief that all devo­tees, ir­re­spec­tive of ‘free’ or ‘paid’ dar­shan cat­e­gory, would ul­ti­mately be al­lowed to ex­pe­ri­ence the same ‘dar­shan’ for rel­a­tively equal du­ra­tion and from the same dis­tance. Un­for­tu­nately, the tem­ples spec­i­fied above pro­vide special priv­i­leges of hav­ing dar­shan closely, quickly and for rel­a­tively longer for paid devo­tees, while free dar­shan devo­tees were ne­glected.

“Money can­not be the ba­sis for cre­at­ing dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion among equals, as the same was with­out any rea­son­able ba­sis,” he said.

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