A Madras High Court bench comprising of Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad dismissed a PIL filed by lawyer A.Ashvathaman against opening of Hindu temples at mid-night for 'western' New Year celebration.
According to the PIL, as per the Aagama Rule, temple should be closed around 9 PM every day, after solemnising the ‘Arthajama pooja’ and should be opened during ‘Brahma Muhurtham’, i.e. between 4:30 AM, and 6:00 AM. He contended that the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, has permitted opening of Hindu temples at mid-night despite opposition from Hindu people and Hindu Institutions. He further claimed that such undue procedures sabotages the values of Hindu & Tamil culture and also violates the rights conferred under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India.
The Court refused to accept the contentions and observed that thousands of people go to temples on January 1st of every year as a practice, followed for several years. The court further observed that religious practices that are not opposed to the Constitution of India cannot be curtailed by a Writ of Mandamus.
The advocate also brought to the notice of the bench that by a notification, the Andhra Pradesh Government had instructed the Hindu temples specifically, to not celebrate the western New Year and open Hindu temples at midnight, as it was against the Indian Vedic System. But the court held the notification to not be binding on the State of Tamil Nadu.