MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking permission for devotees to participate in the Chithirai festival at Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple and Kallazhagar Temple here.
A division bench comprising Justices TS Sivagnanam and S Ananthi, however, refused to allow the PIL. The judges observed that the decision taken by the government was undoubtedly for the welfare of the public.
The litigant GD Manikandan, an advocate from Sivaganga, challenged the G.O. passed by the State on April 8, 2021, through which all festivals and religious congregations in Tamil Nadu were prohibited due to the pandemic, except essential rituals conducted through employees of the respective religious places without participation of devotees.
Manikandan pointed out that movie halls, parks and other places of entertainment are permitted to function with 50 per cent capacity by following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Even TASMAC outlets were not banned by the G.O., he added. He prayed the court to direct the authorities to permit at least limited number of devotees to participate in the Chithirai festival through online booking and following Covid-19 protocols.
Due to a rapid spread of the virus, it has become vital to sensitise the public to strictly follow SOPs so that they can be safe, the judges added. Hence the ban on festivals and religious congregations cannot be interfered with, they held and dismissed the PIL.