CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has ordered the maintenance of status quo in respect of the property of the Madurai Adheenam.
A vacation bench comprising Justices C S Karnan and K Ravichandra Babu granted the injunction to protect the property while passing interim orders on a public interest writ petition from a city-based advocate.
The matter will be taken up on June 4. According to the petitioner, the Adheenam, which was in existence even during the Sangam Literary period, owned movable and immovable property worth several thousand crores of rupees.
Many temples in the State were under the control of the Adheenam. Controversial godman Nithyananda, who has been appointed the 293rd pontiff of the mutt, which is held in reverence all over the world by Saivites, is absolutely incompetent to hold the post, the petitioner alleged. Several criminal cases are pending against him before various courts in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and he has been charged with sexual abuse.
The age-old practice of anointing a fit Saivite well-versed in the philosopy of Hindu religion as the pontiff of the Adheenam was dispensed with when Nithyananda was appointed, said the petitioner.
He claimed that the appointment was illegal and contrary to the letter and spirit of the TN Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act.
The Act stated that the person appointed as a trustee of a Mutt must be a Hindu, must not be suffering from any mental defect or infirmity, must not be convicted of any offence involving moral delinquencies and must not be leading an immoral life or a life that was likely to bring the office of the Mutt chief into contempt. Every prohibition contained in the Act applied to Nithyananda, the petitioner alleged. Therefore, he should be restrained from acting as the head of the Adheenam, urged the petitioner.