The Supreme Court Monday said that it trusts authorities will “act in accordance with law and not on the basis of any oral instructions” while hearing a plea filed by a Tamil Nadu BJP member seeking the court’s urgent intervention to quash what he alleged are “oral orders/directions” by Chief Minister M K Stalin to the police to not allow any kind of puja or live telecast of the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony in the state’s temples.
The court has asked the state to record reasons for allowing or rejecting such a request, and has also asked authorities to keep data with regard to the applications.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta heard the plea filed by Vinoj P Selvam, through Senior Advocate P Valliappan and Advocate on Record G Balaji.
The plea alleged that on January 20, 2024, Stalin “issued oral orders/Directions to the Police Department not to permit any kind of Poojas, Archanas, Annadhanam, Live Telecast of Pran Prathishta, Bhajans and processions in the name of Lord Ram on the auspicious occasion of “Pran Prathista” of Lord Ram at Ayodhya, in all the Temples in the State of Tamil Nadu irrespective of whether it is a Private Temple controlled by the TN HRCE Department”.
It contends that “such oral orders are patently illegal, arbitrary and ultra vires the various provisions of the Constitution” and referred to posts by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday highlighting the issue.
“Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman in her tweets on 21.01.2024 has stated that, “TN govt has banned watching live telecast of #AyodhaRamMandir programmes of 22 Jan 24. In TN there are over 200 temples for Shri Ram. In HR&CE managed temples no puja/bhajan/prasadam/annadanam in the name of Shri Ram is allowed. Police are stopping privately held temples also from organising events. They are threatening organisers that they will rip off pandals. Strongly condemn this anti-Hindu, hateful action,” said the plea.
“Heart-breaking scenes in several parts of TN. People are threatened for organising #bhajans, feeding the poor, celebrating with sweets even as we wish to watch Hon. PM @narendramodi participate in # A y o d h y a . C a b l e TV o p e r a t o r s a r e t o l d t h a t t h e r e i s a l i k e l y power-shut down during the live telecast. This is I.N.D.I Alliance partner DMK’s anti-Hindu efforts,” the petition quoted another post by Sitharaman.
The plea added, “To confirm such act of high handed lawlessness in the state of Tamil Nadu, Central Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman has scheduled to visit Tamil Nadu on 22.01.2024 planned to attend an event at Kanchipuram Kamatchi Amman Temple a famous temple directly related to Kanchi Math where it was already scheduled to live telecast pran prathista event of Ram Janmabhoomi for which Police has denied permission orally and directed the temple authorities to restrain themselves from live telecasting Pran Prathista event inside temple”.
On Sunday, Nirmala Sitharaman had alleged that the Tamil Nadu government had banned the live telecast of the Ram Mandir events in Ayodhya, a charge denied by the state government. On Monday, she said people were not being allowed to screen the Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha ceremony inside temples at several places in Tamil Nadu.
The petitioner said the Tamil Nadu government and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department were passing on oral instructions so as “to avoid court actions as any written order can be challenged before the Court”.
© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd
First uploaded on: 22-01-2024 at 10:26 IST