Bench observes while listening to a plea about the performance of rituals at the Tirumala Tirupati temple. The Supreme Court said Tuesday that constitutional courts could not interfere with daily rituals and sevas performed in temples on the basis of “public interest” petitions.
Religious scholars and priests were better equipped to address the question of whether rituals in a temple were carried out in accordance with customs and traditions.
The judicial jurisdiction of a constitutional court under articles 226 and 32 was limited. Whether a particular ritual was being performed in the correct way or not was a “controversial question of fact,” the court explained. At most, it could be a subject for filing a civil lawsuit in a subordinate court.
“How should you break a coconut or pooja what should be done in a temple is not to be investigated by a constitutional court, ”said Chief Justice of India NV Ramana.
The Court, which also included judges AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli, was hearing a court petition filed by Srivari Daadaa alleging that rituals were not being performed according to tradition at the famous Tirumala Tirupati temple. He also complained about the procedure for darshan.
Justices Bopanna and Kohli agreed that the Supreme Court could not interfere with the daily performance of rituals in a temple on the basis of a petition for a court order.
The court said that at most it could ask the temple administration for clarification in case devotees complain of discrimination or not allowing darshan taking into account the current public health crisis.
Disposing of the case, the court, in its order, ordered the Tirupati administration to respond to Mr. Daadaa’s complaints regarding darshan procedures and other administrative matters within eight weeks.
The court said Daadaa could file a civil lawsuit in a lower court to dispute factual issues related to the performance of rituals.