Amid the controversy over appointment of self-styled godman Nityananda as head of the Madurai Adheenam, the Madras high court on dismised a PIL seeking a direction to the government to take over the ancient Saivite Mutt.
The Madurai bench of the court also dismissed a habeas corpus petition filed by a disciple of the Dharmapura Adheenam seeking to produce the pontiff of Madurai Adheenam, Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swami, in person.
Dismissing the pleas, the bench comprising Justices M Sathya Narayanan and D Hariparanthanam said the petitioners should approach the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department under provisions of the HR and CE act and the high court was not competent to handle the issue at this stage.
The court said as the matter involved appointment of Nityananda as the successor, it was a matter to be decided by the HR and CE (Joint Commissioner) court or civil court.
Meanwhile, counsel for M Solaikannan, Hindu People's Party leader who filed the PIL, sought a special leave petition for appealing against the Court order to the Supreme Court. The counsel also said he would file a civil suit.
In his petition, Solaikannan alleged that the recent appointment of Nityananda, who is facing criminal charges, including rape, as the 293rd pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam (Mutt), was made without following rules and rituals established by tradition.
The appointment had not been ratified by other Saivite mutts. The present mutt head had been administered some drug and he had agreed to make Nityananda as the Mutt head only under the influence of drugs, the petitioner alleged.
The Habeas Corpus Petition filed by one T Gurusamy Desikar, sought a direction to police to produce the mutt head Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swami, in person and set him free from 'illegal custody' of Nityananda.
However, the Mutt head has said he was not under the control of any person, including Nityananda.
Nityananda's appointment as the head of the 1500 year-old Saivite Mutt, has triggered a controversy. Many religious leaders and political outfits have protested the appointment.
The self-styled godman had landed in controversy after a video footage purportedly showing him in a compromising position with an actress was telecast by local TV channels in March 2010. He was arrested on April 21 from Solan in Himachal Pradesh and granted bail on June 11 the same year by the Karnataka high court.