Same distance from deity for paid, free darshan
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.