SC refuses to vacate order on temple priests in Tamil Nadu

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to vacate its order requiring the Tamil Nadu Government to maintain existing conditions on appointment of ‘Archakas’ or priests in temples governed by the ‘Agamic’ tradition in the state.

A Bench led by Justice AS Bopanna did not agree with submissions of senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Tamil Nadu Government, that appointment of ‘Archakas’ was a secular function and the state was entitled to appoint them. The allegation was that the state government was not following the procedures prescribed under ‘agama’ traditions in appointing ‘archakas’ in temples of a particular denomination, the Bench pointed out.

‘Agamas’ literally means “handed down by tradition” and Agama Shastra” describes the manual for worship, temple building and rituals in various traditions of Hinduism.

The Bench will take up the matter on January 25. Refusing to stay the proceedings before the Madras High Court on a similar issue, the SC asked lawyers to inform the HC that the Supreme Court was dealing with the matter.