Madras HC advises devotees to enter temples only in accordance with the Dress Code, but stops short of issuing directions

Team SoOLEGAL 8 Mar 2022 9:05pm

Madras HC advises devotees to enter temples only in accordance with the Dress Code, but stops short of issuing directions

NEW DELHI:While the Madras High Court refrained from providing any general directives, it did state that devotees must follow the dress code before entering the temple.

The Division Bench, which included Chief Justice MunishwarNath Bhandari and Justice D BharathaChakravarthy, stated that while the court cannot "thrust" its opinions on society, temples, as places of customary practise, can post visible sign boards and take regulatory measures to ensure that the dress code is followed.

According to the writ-petitioner, only Hindus are permitted to enter the temple under the provisions of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act of 1959. However, in the absence of a dress code, people of other religions are allowed to enter the temple. The establishment of a dress code is required to preserve the temple's sanctity. As a result, respondents were given general instructions to place sign boards in temples requiring the dress code to be followed. The petitioner, who appeared in person, produced photographs demonstrating that, in the absence of a dress code, people are entering the temple in a variety of attire.

Learned AG, on the other hand, submitted that sign boards be placed in temples where the dress code is specified. A general directive, as requested by the petitioner, cannot be issued. In the absence of a specific temple's dress code, a sign board prescribing the dress code cannot be issued. He based his decision on MRINALINI PADHI vs. UNION OF INDIA, 2019 Latest Caselaw 1055 SC.

According to the Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act, 1947, no one shall enter any temple premises unless he has bathed and wears cloths of such materials and in such manner as is customary in such temple. No one shall enter a temple wearing any footwear.

It made the following observation, “"When a mechanism has been provided under the aforesaid provisions to maintain order and decorum, we find no reason to accept the prayer of the petitioner seeking a particular dress code to be followed, as suggested by him in the writ petition, the basis whereof is not known."

Tagged: Madras HC   Division Bench   Chief Justice   MunishwarNath Bhandari   Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy  
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