Constitutional courts can't interfere in temple rituals: Supreme Court

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Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a petition challenging an order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which rejected the plea of a devotee to look into irregularities in ‘puja’ and ‘archana’ at Lord Venkateswara Swami temple in Tirumala.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a petition challenging an order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which rejected the plea of a devotee to look into irregularities in 'puja' and 'archana' at Lord Venkateswara Swami temple in Tirumala.

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli said a Constitutional court cannot look into the day to day affairs of a temple.

"Any deviation from tradition is a question of fact which trial court can look into by appreciating the evidence," it said.

The Supreme Court said it can only look into issues relating to temple administration not following the prescribed rules and regulations. But it is not feasible for the court to interfere in the issues related to rituals and sevas.

"Can we interfere in rituals of temple? How to break a coconut or how to do aarti?", the bench asked the party-in-person Srivari Dada.

The Court disposed of the SLP with a direction that the administration has to respond to the petitioner's grievances within 8 weeks. After that, if there is still a grievance, then the petitioner has to approach the appropriate forum.

The court had earlier directed the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams to respond to the representation submitted by the petitioner.

In response, the TTD filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court stating that the Sevas to Lord Venkateshwara are performed by Archakas under the supervision of His Holiness Pedda Jeeyangar Swamy and Chinna Jeeyangar Swamy strictly in accordance with Vaikhanasa Agama.

It has been submitted that the rituals are performed with utmost sincerity, faith and devotion by the religious staff and other priests of the temple, the TTD said.

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