Madras High Court Quashes Palani Temple’s Move to Appoint Paid Contractors to Clean the Temple Instead of Volunteer Devotees

CHENNAI, INDIA, September 25, 2020 : The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday delivered a verdict with respect to the holy shrine of Lord Muruga at Palani Hills in Tamil Nadu by cancelling the tender issued by the executive officer to appoint contractors for providing house keeping services in the temple and establishments attached to the temple.

Justice G. R. Swaminathan, who heard a writ petition filed by T. R. Ramesh, president, Indic Collective, challenging the executive officer’s move to float tenders for the same accepted the contention of the petitioner that devotees were authorized with the maintenance and cleaning of the the temple and its premises as per “Uzhavara Pani,” an age-old voluntary service ritual. Ramesh also argued that the executive officer by entrusting the cleaning and maintenance works of the temple to outsiders on a commercial basis was infringing on the rights of the devotees. Quoting from Periya Puranam (Great Epic) authored by Sekkizhar, the 12th century saint, the justice pointed out that Shaivism speaks of four modes of worship-charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. “Charya includes physical service (Uzhavara Pani). Housekeeping contract is the commercial counterpart of Uzhavara Pani,” ruled the judge.