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The Supreme court verdict on 6.1.2014 declaring Tamil Nadu State Government’s order to take over the administration of Natarajar temple at Chidambaram was not. But it is quiet disheartening to order that it is against justice.

Through the Government order dated 30.04.2007 the administration of the Natarajar Temple, Chidambaram was taken over by the Hindu Religious and Charitable endorsement department, during the DMK rule and an Executive officer was appointed.

Chidambaram Temple

The Dikshithars challenged this G.O. in Madras High court in 2009 which was summarily dismissed.

Then Dikshithars preferred an appeal in Supreme court which was heard by the Bench comprising of Justice A.M.Chauhan and S.A. Bepde resulting in the said Judgement.

The entire case was conducted as though there was no plaintiff. Subramaniam swamy impleaded himself in support of Dikshithars.

The Siva Devotee “Arumugaswamy” and the staunch saiviha scholar “Sathyavel Muruganar” impleaded themselves as plaintiffs.

The conduct of Tamil Nadu Government, the first plaintiff, was in favor of dikshithars. The case was conducted in a haphazard manner without appointing any senior lawyers. The Jayalalitha Govt, is primarily responsible for this unfavourable verdict because of its careless and lethargic attitude in conducting this case.

This is an appropriate time to recollect the chronology of this episode, commencing from the DMK Government’s order to take over the administration to Hindu Religious Endowment Department, there by the Dikshitars joined together to challenge order in the High court and met Jayalalitha in person to gain her support in this matter. Jayalalitha assured them her support.

It was very clear that the cartel was already pooled between the Dikshitars and Jayalalitha on that day of meeting itself, resulting the bitter turn of that case.

But By mere cursory reading, anybody can easily comprehend the justice is denied and defeated and the High Court has falied in its duty.

Subramanian Swamy in order influence the Supreme Court Judges in the course of hearing restored to cheap tactics. To support his argument, he highlighted the speech of Karunanidhi, once delivered when he was young, wondering about the day when Lord Sri Ranganathar and Thillai Natarajar would be bombarded and also his subsequent atheist propaganda. Subramanian Swamy’s main intention was to project Karunanidhi as a staunch atheist. His platant fals argument was that the alterial motive of Karunanidhi to bring the Temple under the Govt control was to demolish the Temple. He also cleverly manipulated Karunanidhi Govt. order to sing Thevaram and Thiruvasagam in the temple was to sideline Sanskrit, propaganda.

The constructive effort Makkal Kalai Illakiya Kazzhagam volunteers to make Arumuga Sami to sing Thevaram at Natarajar temple, Chidhambaram as Government order and the resultant tussle of Dikshitars with police officials have been concocted as an attempt of communists. The photographs published in the dailies contained PALA volunteers wearing red shirt which were submitted to the court in support of Swamy’s false claim.

Jayalalitha who is well known worshipper could have easily intervened this issue in the right time, so that the deceitful act of Subramaniam Swamy can be exposed. Apart from this, Subramanian Swamy did not place any strong evidence in support of his weak claim in the course of hearing.

Whenever the dispute was raised over the Govt. effort to take over the administration of Natarajar temple, two arguments were mainly putforth. They are (1). whether the Dikshithars belong to a religios denomination or section (2) Whether the Temple belong to Dikshithars all along and Whether they continued to adminster the Temple.

Subramanian Swamy placed before the court the verdict given in Seerur Mutt case in the year 1954 which was clubbed with Natarajar temple case. The Constitution bench consists of seven learned judges mainly discussed about the Seerur Mutt case which was more pertinent. The pending appeal of Dikshidhars were clubed with this case. The Dikshitars placed before the court that they belonged to a separate religious denomination. This particular aspect was discussed along with the Seerur Mutt case.

The reason behind it is that once they could prove that they belong to separate religious denomination they can avail protection under Article 26 of Indian constitution. Article 26 of the Indian Constitution consists of four clauses. We can look into the clauses which are relevant to the present case.

Art 26 – “Freedom to manage religions subject to public order, morality and health, every religions demonination or any section thereof shall have the right

(a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes,
(b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion,
(c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property and
(d) to administer such property in accordance with law”

The Dikshithars arguements are that they belong to a distinct religious denomination as per this article 26 and Chidambaram Natarajar Temple and its property belongto them and they are the rightful persons to adminster the Temple.

Now we analyze the topic little deeper and wider and come to the conclusion about the claim.

Subramanian Swamy however repeatedly take refuge in the Seerur Mutt order to establish Dikshidhars as religious denomination. This will never stand valid because of the judgemnet pronounced in Seerur Mutt case says as an an observation only, that the Dikshithars were a religios denomination [AIR, 1954, SC, 282].

It says, “Dikshitars belong to Smartha Bramin community. No persons in that community were allowed to do religious sites so far by generations. It can be seen on the very surface reading that in majority of the temples only bramins are allowed to conduct religious rituals. Even among Bramins the Pujaris were deemed to have been treated as a separate groups and in many instances to be lower strata to Smartha Bramin community. Just because of this nature, the Pujaris are not meant to be treated as a separate religious sect or denomination.

Dikshithars are not “Thillaivazh Anthanargal” sited by Periya Puranam. They belonged to Adhi Saivargal and never to be treated as Bramins. They all migrated from Kerala during 8th century.

The weakness of Seerur Mutt judgment was based on wrong interpretation of the words viz., religious denomination and to were denomination. Based on the Oxford dictionary meaning and other American/Australia ruling on the word ‘denomination’ it was extended to religious denomination also. However this wrong notion was later corrected by different Supreme court rulings.

Among those Judgements the order of the Constitution Bench of 5 judges headed by Justice Gajendra Gatkar is an important one. This case was Durgha committee –Vs- Syed Ussain Ali [AIR, 1961 – S.C, 1402].

This Bench clarified that the word ‘Denomination’ should be real along the word ‘Religios’ as “Religions denomination”.

The Bench gave the following three aspects to define religios denomination. They are:

(1). a collection of religious faith, a system of belief which is conductive to spritual well being i.e., common faith. (2). common organisation. (3). a designation by distinctive name

From this definition, the Dikshitars cannot claimed to be a seperate religios denomination or section thereof. While they are being referred as Smartha Bramins, or to the least they are one among the bramins, it is well established those Dikshitars never belong to any separate denomination apart from general grouping under Smartha Bramins. They have no seperate common faith. And also by declaring that their livelihood is mainly on the basis of performing religious duties will not help them to seek remedy under this case.

In Seerur Mutt case the Mattathipathis were defined as descendents of Seevathi Brahmins.

In R.S.Mittal –Vs- Indian Union case in 1995, some people claimed that they be given protection under Article 26 to administer the property of Arvindhar Ashram, Auroville, Puducherry as they are descendants of Swamy Aravindhar, they be treated as distinct religious denomination.

The Supreme court rejected their claim observing that just because of some people have some distinct rituals following a Guru, they cannot claim to be a religious denomination.

From the above legal position, it is empty clear that Dikshithars are not a seperate religious denominations. Art 26 cannot come to their rescue.

The Dikshitars could not place before the court any documentary evidences to establish their exclusive title of the temple property.

Subramanian Swamy himself said the following in his affidavit.

“We don’t have any documentary proof to establish that Dikshithars established and adminstered the Temple. However it remains to be seen for ages as an undefeated faith in the Hindu religion. So far, no one has ever claimed over right of the Temple”.

The strength in this case is badly diluted while we take in to consideration of Arumuga Sami, Sathiyavel Muruganar and many hindus those who stood against the swamy version and hence he must not take it as granted the whole belief of Hindus.

The case was handled from two angles viz., religious faith and temple property administration. One must have documentary evidence to establish the property title. Subramaniam swamy denied having any evidence in this regard. Simply he dragged the faith of total Hindus which was a blatant l lie to be ridiculed. The mere fact none claimed the temple property right so far does not help the Dikshitars right to claim over the temple properties either.

The history speaks louder than their false claim. The Natarajar temple was established and renovated by several kings. We do have records to prove our claim. The stone scripture still available in the temple says that Kiliyur Ilangeswaram worshipped Lord Natarajar with 200 lotuses daily and appointed employees to perform that to take which was assented by Raja Raja chozhan in those days. [ARI 284/1913]. Still we can witness the Pandiyathevan stone scripture in the eastern temple tower of Temple saying that the temple administration was taken care of Pandiya kings and also the concession extended by the king to monitor the water resources. In the Thiruthondar Thiruvandhaadhi, Nambiyaandaar Nambi has narrated that Athitha Chozhan[871-907] had adorned the temple tower with golden plates.

The temple’s first round of path[Prakaram] is called Vikrama Chozan Thiru Maligai, the second one is called Kulothunga Chozhan Thiru Maligai, the third one is called Thambiran Thiruveedhi. The west temple tower[Gopuram] is called Chozan Thirumaligai Pura Vaayil.

During the regime of Vijaya Nagar the temple was administrated by separate body of governors including the one named Thevar Maharayar.

There were evidences scriptures in the copper plate stating the temple administration was in charge of Saiva Vellalar Siva Prakasam during 1680, by Thillai Chitrambala thavamuni during 1684 and by Thillai Kaasith Thambiraan during 1711.

In the later days the temple was administrated by Pichavaram Jameens. After finishing mid night prayers, the temple main door was locked and the key was carried in the palanquin by the Dikshitars to be handed over to Pichavaram Jameen. The customs were in vogue over a decade till 1925. (For further reading you can refer to ‘Karayan Putrukkul karunagam’ by D.Jeyaraman, Thamizhar Kannottam 2008 April issue).

From this it is very evident that the Dikshitars were discharging their duties just as an employees only in those days and never participated in the administrative governence. After the weakening of Pitchavaram Jameen the Dikshitars tried to take possession of the temple and more then thousand acres of land of the Temple.

During that time we were under British rule. Because of not being able to identify the exact heir to all such temple properties, the whites promulgated several rules and regulations. During the Justice Party rule, the Hindu religious endowment act was enacted and it came into force in 1927.

Since from those days, the Dikshitars were battling with all the available angles and loopholes in the act to take over the temple administration.

Even though, no inviduals claimed title over the Temple contesting Dikshithars, as Subramaniam swamy says, the Temple was established and administerd by Kings. So the Govt tried to take over the Temple, as it is a public property.

As long as the Temple is in the handls of Dikshithars the devotees cannot sing Thevaram and Thiruvasagam. The state government should enact special Act in the assembly in the forth coming session. If it is not practicable, the government should promolgate an ordinance to this effect.

When we are not sure the state government will pass such order on merit, we are purely helpless except to convene protest in order to safe guard the Tamils and their religious rights.

(Author of the Article K.VENKATRAMAN is the General Secretary of Thamizh Thesa Pothuvudimai Katchi (TTPK) and Sub-Editor of Thamizh Thesiya Thamizhar Kannotam – fortnightly magazine. You can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Translated by Prema Prabha

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