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Arul Migu Mahalakshmi Amman Thirukovil, Krishnarayapuram, Mahalakshmi Mummudiyar Kula Nala Sangam of 24 Mannai Telugu Chettiar Community, Rep. by its Administrators L. Subramanian & Others v/s The District Collector, Karur


    W.P.(MD). No. 16701 of 2019

    Decided On, 29 May 2020

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R. SURESH KUMAR

    For the Petitioners: PT.S. Narendravasan, Advocate. For the Respondent: P. Kannithevan, AGP.



Judgment Text


(Prayer: Writ Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus, directing the respondent to consider the petitioner's representation, dated 05.07.2019 requesting the respondent to take necessary action not to break the coconut on the head of the devotees during Aadi Festival scheduled to be conducted in "Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple, Mettu Mahadhanapuram Village, Krishnarayapuram Taluk, Karur District on 03.08.2019.)

1. The relevant facts which are required to be noticed for the disposal of this writ petition are as follows :

(i) That the petitioner is a Society (Sangam) called “Arulmighu Mahalakshmi Mumudiyar Kulanala Sangam” of 24 Manai Telugu Chettiyar community. It is a registered Association under the provisions of the Societies Registration Act, 1975.

(ii) The petitioners sangam along with its 26 Administrators joined together and filed this writ petition with the prayer of writ of mandamus seeking a direction from this Court to the respondent to take necessary action not to break the coconut on the head of the devotees during Aadi festival scheduled to be conducted in Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple, Mettu Mahadanapuram village, Krishnarayapuram Taluk, Karur District.

(iii) As per the affidavit averments filed in support of the writ petition, on behalf of the petitioners, it is contended that, there is a Temple at their village Mettu Mahadanapuram at Karur District called “Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple”. It is a public temple as all the community people used to visit and worship the deity of the temple.

(iv) The temple is under the control and administration of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department of Tamil Nadu (in short “HR and CE Department”) and the 24 Manai Telugu Chettiyar Community people are regularly taking part in worshipping at the Temple throughout like other community people. (v) It is further claimed in the affidavit that Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple is the family deity of 24 Manai Telugu Chettiyar community people. Every year during the Tamil month Aadi 18th day, the festival called “Aadi Thiruvizha” would be celebrated in a grand manner conducting Ganapathi Homam and Ganapathi poojas. On the 19th day of Aadi month, a Maha Abishega pooja will be performed in the temple. The Maha Abishega pooja would be performed in a grand manner as thousands of people would participate under the supervision of the officials / employees of the HR & CE Department besides Revenue officials and Police officials. Therefore the said two days festival, namely Aadi 18th and Aadi 19th day festivals are important festivals of this temple which would be celebrated in a grandeur manner every year.

(vi) It is further contended in the affidavit that, during Aadi festival, especially on the particular day, the poojari (priest) of the temple would start the festival by breaking coconuts on the heads of 7 persons belonging to 24 Manai Telugu Chettiyar Mumudiyar community and Kurumbar community.

(vii) After breaking Coconuts on the heads of the seven persons belonging to the said communities, the poojari will start breaking the coconuts on the general public / devotees who are sitting in a queue. This practice, according to the petitioners, of breaking coconuts on the head, is a custom for the past several decades.

(viii) In this regard, it is the further case of the petitioners that, while breaking coconut on the heads of the devotees several devotees are sustaining bleeding injury in the head every year. The said act of breaking coconut on the head of the devotees cause serious head injuries which will endanger to the life of the human being, i.e., the devotees who are subjected to that practice.

(ix) Therefore, It is the further contention of the petitioners that, in order to avoid such a practice of breaking the coconut on the heads of the devotees, they wanted an alternative method of performing the said pooja of smashing the coconuts, whereby, according to the petitioners, the coconut can be initially placed on the head of each devotee and thereafter can be smashed or broken at a stone or other method in order to avoid such bodily injury to the devotees.

(x) In this regard, the petitioners claimed that, they had given request to the HR and CE Officials as well as Revenue and Police Officials, even though they made such a suggestion to the temple authorities, according to the petitioners, the temple poojari is objecting the alternative method of smashing the coconut as it is the custom which is being followed several decades and therefore that kind of suggestion putforth by the petitioners' side would be an unsolicited interference in their tradition. Therefore, in this regard, the petitioners during the year 2019 i.e., before the Aadi festival to be performed in the month of August 2019, had given representations in July 2019 to the Respondent, i.e., the District Collector to take decision on such representation, thereby a directive can be issued to the temple authorities including the poojari not to smash / break the coconuts on the heads of the devotees during the Aadi Festival of the temple, instead an alternative suggestion put forward by the petitioner’s side can be directed to be adopted.

(xi) Since the said representations were not considered fruitfully as expected by the petitioners, they approached this Court with the aforesaid prayer of Writ of Mandamus, that is how, this writ petition has come to this Court.

2. I have heard Mr.PT.S.Narendravasan, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners and Mr.P.Kannithevan, learned AGP appearing for the respondent.

3. The prayer as couched in this writ petition appears to be simple one that, by way of Mandamus to direct the respondent Collector to consider the representation given by the petitioners side and to take a decision thereon, that means, to take action not to break the coconut on the head of the devotees during the Aadi Festival scheduled to be conducted in Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple, Mettu Mahadanapuram Village, Krishnarayapuram Taluk, Karur District. However, the issue raised by the petitioners cannot be dealt with as simple as has been projected by the petitioners by issuing a Writ of Mandamus or direction to that effect as has been sought for in this Writ Petition.

4. Since the issue raised in the writ petition is considered to be a religious faith or a faith of a religious denomination on the God / Goddess, normally the Courts will be very slow in interfering in such matters. However, when a plea is raised before this Court by invoking the extraordinary Jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, before which the petitioners claimed to have approached the respondent District Collector to act upon on their representation to that effect, this Court does not want to simply layoff its hands by merely disposing the writ petition by giving a mandamus or direction to the respondent District Collector to consider the representation on merits and in accordance with law and decide the same within a time frame to be stipulated in this regard.

5. Therefore, this Court wants to delve into the matter to some detail as to whether the plea raised by the petitioners herein can be judicially reviewed in an extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court in a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution or not.

6. It is the case of the petitioners that the practice of breaking or smashing the coconut on the heads of the devotees during the every year Aadi Festival at the concerned temple is a custom being practised several years. In this regard, the petitioners are not in a position to establish that, as to from which period the said practice was started. When this court further probe into this matter, it has come to light of this Court that, it is not only in the temple at Mettu Mahadhanapuram, i.e., Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple, Karur District, the practice of breaking coconuts on the heads of the devotees is performed, but in several other temples in the State of Tamil Nadu, such kind of practice is adopted.

7. Illustratively, this Court is able to get some information that in Dharmapuri District, a temple called Veerabhadhrasamy Temple at Payarnatham, where the same practice is performed. During the festival, 18 Village people gathered together to perform the Aadi Festival,where on a particular day of the festival, the pooja of smashing the coconut on the heads of devotees are taken place. Like that, in Krishnagiri District, near Hosur, there is a place called Chennapalli Village, where, in the temple called Karagasakki Amman Temple, the same practice is being adopted. Like that in some other temples in the state of Tamil Nadu, this Court understands that, the same practice is being adopted during the Festival.

8. In this context, if we trace the historical background of this kind of rituals, this Court also can take judicial notice that, two more such kind of festivals, where, the devotees troubling themselves by adopting a particular performance of pooja, is being performed in various temples. One such performance of pooja is "Fire Walking" (jP kpjpj;jy;). Fire walking is an act of walking bare foot over a bed of hot embers or stones. According to the information available, this practice of Fire walking is performed not only in Tamil Nadu or in India but throughout the World. The earliest was in the Iron age in India i.e 1200 BC, the pooja of Fire walking had been in practice. During the performance of Fire walking, at times, devotees may get some burn injuries even though most of the times majority of devotees would successfully perform this Fire walking pooja without an iota of any injury or burn at their foot or body.

9. Like that, yet another unique performance of pooja is called "Alagu Kuthuthal", (“TAMIL”) which means "Body Punching" or "Body Piercing". This performance of Body Piercing is one of the famous religious pooja to be performed in Temples not only in Tamil Nadu, but wherever the temple of tamil God (Lord Murugan @ Subramanian) are available in other parts of the world, such kind of performance of Body Piercing is taken place. In Malaysia every year during the Thai Poosam festival performed in the Tamil month of Thai, this Body Piercing pooja is offered to the God. In most of the temples, where the deity is Goddess Mariyamman and in temples where the God is Lord Murugan, this kind of festival is being performed every year. In this performance of Body Piercing, the devotees used to punch tongue, mouth (cheeks), skin at belly and back with metal skewers or with small spears. These kind of poojas (by mortification of flesh) would be offered by devotees, in order to fulfill the vow of the devotees which might have been for the good fortune they received or the prayer for getting good fortune in future.

10. Whether this kind of weird performance of pooja, by troubling the human body, had been only with a recent origin or from time immemorial is also a question to be gone into.

11. As we discussed above, the performance of Fire Walking dates back since 1200 BC in India, like that the festival of Body Piercing also can be traced to several hundreds of years back.

12. In so far as the religious faith or a faith on the God by devotees by performing various poojas or vows like the mortification of flesh are concerned it could be an ancient practice, which is evidenced from some of the tamil literary work. One of the famous literary work in tamil called "Kalingathu Parani" (“TAMIL”) which was penned by poet Jayamkondar. The "Parani" is one of the style or pattern of 96 Prabanthams in Tamil Literature. Normally, this pattern of poems would be penned to glorify the king who conquest the rival King / Country in the war by killing thousand and more elephants.

13. Accordingly, the poet Jayamkondar penned this Kalingathu Parani where he glorified the victory over Kalinga King achieved by Chola King Kulothunga-I through his Commander-in-Chief Karunakara Thondaimaan in 12th Century AD.

14. In this literary work of Kalingathu Parani, the poet Jayamkondar traced that how the brave Soldiers of Chola Army after conquered the Kalinga Country had fulfilled their vows, which they indebted towards the Goddess of Desert, i.e., Goddess of "Palai" land, that is desert land, which is one of the five types of land, by offering the head and body of the soldier himself to the Goddess Kaali @ Kotravai (fhsp @ bfhw;wit ).

15. Describing the said episode, the poet Jayamkondar writes the following poem “TAMIL”

16. The meaning of the said poem is, the brave soldiers who participated in the war and conquered the King of the Kalinga country, after the war victory, would go to the Goddess Kottravai and offer their head by beheading. i.e. the first line of poem. After beheading, the head would be offered in front of the Goddess i.e., the second line, the head so offered by the soldier to the Goddess would praise and offer its gratitude to the Goddess which is third line, and the body, i.e., torso ofcourse with hands and without the head, will salute the Goddess with folded hands i.e., the fourth line.

17. This notable poem of Jayamkondar in Kalingathu Parani which is a war history of Kalinga war, where the Chola King conquered the Kalinga Country in the 12th Century AD, is a classic example to learn or realize the practice of making the supreme sacrifice by way of offering the life to the God / Goddess towards the fulfillment of vow.

18. So the Tamil soil is having such rich tradition in offering the very life of a person to the God in order to fulfill the vow, therefore, this kind of sacrifices by making such performances and poojas either by offering their life itself or troubling or mortification of the human body towards the fulfillment of the vow, is not a new phenomena having only a recent origin, instead, it has a very long history indelibly imprinted in this nation.

19. Though the breaking of coconuts on the devotees head in common parlance may be considered one of the most weird Indian ritual to be performed in temple, it is completely on the willingness of the devotees to practice this tradition. In the very temple, i.e., Mahalakshmi Temple in Mettu Mahadhanapuram Villlage in Karur District, Tamil Nadu, where the issue is now raised by the writ petitioners, many people throng every year to get the blessings and boon from God at this unique thanks giving festival.

20. It seems that, when the ritual goes some priest would hold the head of the devotees who are sitting in a queue and another priest or head priest would break the coconut on the head of the devotees within a fraction of second. Though here and there, very few devotees may get some minor injuries, most of the devotees do not get any injury. If we look at the interview given by such devotees in a related video footage which was beamed by television channels, who have taken it or covered the yester years festivals of the same temple, they disclose that, it is their volunteer offer to the God and some of them claimed that, continuously for several years they used to visit this temple and perform this pooja. Some of them claimed that, only after performing such pooja to the God every year, they get prosperity in their life.

21. In this context, it is made clear that, this Court is not advocating or propagating any theory either towards, worshipping the God or not to worshipping the God, performing the pooja or not to perform the pooja. But one thing to be noted here is that,there is absolutely no complaint from whomsoever that the devotees or somebody from the two communities mentioned above, who claimed the deity as their family deity, are compelled to be subjected to this performance of coconut breaking on their head. All the devotees who come to the temple in hundreds every year to perform this pooja are making it on volunteer basis.

22. These kind of rituals, customary practices which are being performed from several hundred years or time immemorial, cannot be said to be mere awful act of some group of people.

23. In so far as the religious faith, custom, tradition etc., are concerned many times this kind of issues had come to the Court including the Highest Court of this Land.

24. One of the earliest case in this regard, where the religion and the religious belief and performance of rituals in a particular religion or religious denomination, had been discussed is the decision of a seven member Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Commr., H.R.E. v. L.T.Swamiar, reported in AIR 1954 SC 282. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the said decision has stated that, the word “religion” has not been defined in the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court in its unequivocal terms has held that, freedom of religion in our Constitution is not confined to religious beliefs only, it extends to religious practices as well subject to the restrictions which the Constitution itself has laid down. In order to have a complete understanding of what has been held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the said decision, the following paragraphs are extracted hereunder :

"(15) As regards Art.26, the first question is, what is the precise meaning or connotation of the expression "religious denomination" and whether a Math could come within this expression. The word "denomination" has been defined in the Oxford Dictionary to mean "a collection of individuals classed together under the same name: a religious sect or body having a common faith and organisation and designated by a distinctive name. It is well known that the practice of setting up Maths as centres of the logical teaching was started by Shri Sankaracharya and was followed by various teachers since then. After Sankara, came a galaxy of religious teachers and philosophers who founded the different sects and sub-sects of the Hindu religion that we find in India at the present day.

Each one of such sects or sub-sects can certainly be called a religious denomination, as it is designated by a distinctive name,-in many cases it is the name of the founder,-and has a common faith and common spiritual organization. The followers of Ramanuja, who are known by the name of Shri Vaishnabas, undoubtedly constitute a religious denomination; and so do the followers of Madhwacharya and other religious teachers. It is a fact well established by tradition that the eight Udipi Maths were founded by Madhwacharya himself and the trustees and the beneficiaries of these Maths profess to be followers of that teacher. The High Court has found that the Math in question is in charge of the Sivalli Brahmins who constitute a section of the followers of Madhwacharya. As Art.26 contemplates not merely a religious denomination but also a section thereof, the Math or the spiritual fraternity represented by it can legitimately come within the purview of this article. 16. The other thing that remains to be considered in regard to Art.26 is, what is the scope of clause (b) of the Article which speaks of management "of its own affairs in matters of religion ?" The language undoubtedly suggests that there could be other affairs of a religious denomination or a section thereof which are not matters of religion and to which the guarantee given by this clause would not apply. The question is, whereas the line to be drawn between what are matters of religion and what are not ?

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What then are matters of religion ? The word "religion " has not been defined in the Constitution and it is a term which is hardly susceptible of any rigid definition.

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Religion is certainly a matter of faith with individuals or communities and it is not necessarily theistic. There are well known religions in India like Buddhism and Jainism which do not believe in God or in any Intelligent First Cause. A religion undoubtedly has its basis in a system of beliefs or doctrines which are regarded by those who profess that religion as conducive to their spiritual well being, but it would not be correct to say that religion is nothing else, but a doctrine or belief. A religion may not only lay down a code of ethical rules for its followers to accept, it might prescribe rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are regarded as integral parts of religion, and these forms and observances might extend even to matters of food and dress.

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19. The contention formulated in such broad terms cannot, we think, be supported. In the first place, what constitutes the essential part of a religion is primarily to be ascertained with reference to the doctrines of that religion itself. If the tenets of any religious sect of the Hindus prescribe that offerings of food should be given to the idol at particular hours of the day, that periodical ceremonies should be performed in a certain way at certain periods of the year or that there should be daily recital of sacred texts or ablations to the sacred fire, all these would be regarded as parts of religion and the mere fact that they involve expenditure of money or employment of priests and servants or the use of marketable commodities would not make them secular activities partaking of a commercial or economic character; all of them are religious practices and should be regarded as matters of religion within the meaning of Art.26(b). What Art. 25(2) (a) contemplates is not regulation by the State of religious practices as such, the freedom of which is guaranteed by the Constitution except when they run counter to public order, health and morality, but regulation of activities which are economic, commercial or political in their character though they are associated with religious practices.

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Our Constitution-makers, however, have embodied the limitations which have been evolved by judicial pronouncements in America or Australia in the Constitution itself and the language of articles 25 and 26 is sufficiently clear to enable us to determine without the aid of foreign authorities as to what matters come within the purview of religion and what do not. As we have already indicated, freedom of religion in our Constitution is not confined to religious beliefs only; it extends to religious practices as well subject to the restrictions which the Constitution itself has laid down. Under Art.26(b), therefore, a religious denomination or organization enjoys complete autonomy in the matter of deciding as to what rites and ceremonies are essential according to the tenets of the religion they hold and no outside authority has any jurisdiction to interfere with their decision in such matters."

25. In yet another Constitution Bench decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the matter of S.P.Mittal vs Union of India reported in (1983) 1 SCC 51, the 1954 Supreme Court (Cited supra) has been considered and followed. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in SP Mittal case has made the following observations about the religion.

"75. Article 26 confers religious denomination or any section thereof, subject to public order, morality and health, 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.

76. In order to appreciate the contentions of the parties, it is necessary to know the implication of the words 'religion' and 'religious denomination'. The word 'religion' has not been defined in the Constitution and indeed it is a term which is hardly susceptible of any rigid definition. In reply to a question on Dharma by Yaksha, Dharmaraja Yudhisthira said thus:

tarko pratisth, srutyo vibhinna neko risiyasya matan pramanam dharmaya tatwan nihitan guhayan mahajano jein gatah sa pantha

Mahabharta-Aranyakaparvan 313.117.

(Formal logic is vascillating. Srutis are contradictory. There is no single rishi whose opinion is final. The principle of Dharma is hidden in a cave. The path of the virtuous persons is the only proper course.)

77. The expression 'Religion' has, however, been sought to be defined in the 'Words and Phrases', Permanent Edn., 36 A, p. 461 onwards, as given below:

"Religion is morality, with a sanction drawn from a future state of rewards and punishments.

The term 'religion' and 'religious' in ordinary usage are not rigid concepts.

'Religion' has reference to one's views of his relations to his Creator and to the obligations they impose of re-verence for his being and character, and of obedience to his will.

The word 'religion' in the primary sense (from 'religare, to rebind-bind back), imports, as applied to moral questions, only a recognition of a conscious duty to obey restraining principles of conduct. In such sense we suppose there is no one who will admit that he is without religion.

'Religion' is bond uniting man to God, and virtue whose purpose is to render God worship due him as source of all being and principle of all government of things.

'Religion' has reference to man's relation to divinity; to the moral obligation of reverence and worship, obedience and submission, It is the recognition of God as as object of worship, love and obedience; right feeling toward God, as highly apprehended.

'Religion' means the services and adoration of God or a god as expressed in forms of worship; an apprehension, awareness, or conviction of the existence of a Supreme Being; any system of faith, doctrine and worship, as the Christian religion, the religions of the orient; a particular system of faith or worship.

The term 'religion' as used in tax exemption law, simply includes: (I) a belief, not necessarily referring to supernatural powers; (2) a cult, involving a gregarious association openly expressing the belief; (3) a system of moral practice directly resulting from an adherence to the belief; and (4) an organization within the cult designed to observe the tenets or belief, the content of such belief being of no moment.

While 'religion' in its broadest sense includes all forms of belief in the existence of superior beings capable of exercising power over the human race, as commonly accepted it means the formal recognition of God, as members of societies and associations, and the term, "a religious purpose', as used in the constitutional provision exempting from taxation property used for religious purposes, means the use of property by a religious society or body of persons as a place for public worship.

'Religion' is squaring human life with superhuman life. Belief in a superhuman power and such an adjustment of human activities to the requirements of that power as may enable the individual believer to exist more happily is common to all 'religions'.

The term 'religion' has reference to one's views on his relations to his creator, and to the obligations they impose of reverence for his being and character and obedience to his will. The term 'religion' has reference to one's views of his relations to his Creator, and to the obligations they impose of reverence for his being and character, and of obedience to his will. With man's relations to his Maker and the obligations he may think they impose, and the manner in which an expression shall be made by him of his belief on those subjects, no interference can be permitted, provided always the laws of society, designed to secure its peace and prosperity, and the morals of its people, are not interfered with.

78. These terms have also been judicially considered in The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt, 1954 SCR 1005, where in the following proposition of law have been laid down:

(1) Religion means "a system of beliefs or doctrines which are regarded by those who profess that religion as conducive to their spiritual well- being".

(2) A religion is not merely an opinion, doctrine or belief. It has its outward expression in acts as well.

(3) Religion need not be theistic.

(4) "Religious denomination" means a religious sect or body having a common faith and organisation and designated by a distinctive name.

(5) A law which takes away the rights of administration from the hands of a religious denomination altogether and vests in another authority would amount to violation of the right guaranteed under clause (d) of Art. 26."

The aforesaid propositions have been consistently followed in later cases including The Durgah Committee, Ajmer & Anr. v. Syed Hussain Ali & Ors, AIR 1961 SC 1402 and can be regarded as well settled."

26. Therefore the freedom of religion in our Constitution, as per the dictum of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the cases cited supra, extends not only to religious beliefs but also to religious practices ofcourse subject to restriction under Article 26.

27. Article 26, while speaking about the freedom to manage religious affairs, has given four types of freedoms in Article 26 (a) (b) (c) and (d) and has made it clear that, these freedom are subject to public order, morality and health. Therefore the religious freedom as provided under Article 26 can only be restricted on the ground of public order, morality and health.

28. Here in the case in hand, the custom or tradition or pooja or performances being adopted, performed or conducted for several decades, several centuries or from time immemorial cannot be considered to be against a public order or morality or to be injurious to health. Moreover, as discussed in the earlier paras, none of the devotees has made any complaint that, they had been compulsorily subjected to such kind of practise. Whatever pooja or performance of rituals taken place in a temple where the devotees subject themselves to such performances only on voluntary basis, that cannot be considered to be against public order. Here also, the devotees voluntarily come to the temple and in order to fulfill the vow towards the God, they subject themselves to the temple authorities for performing the ritual of breaking or smashing the coconut on their head and except one or two cases where they sustain some minor injuries, most of the devotees performing this ritual with their fulfillment and satisfaction. By making such an offer of troubling their body they feel that, they fulfilled their promise or vow towards the God in response to the prosperity they already achieved or the expectation towards the future prosperity which they prayed to the God.

29. What exactly the brave soldiers of Chola kingdom done before Goddess Kottravai, after they conquered Kalinga country by offering their entire life by way of supreme sacrifice towards the fulfillment of the vow to the Goddess for having given the strength and courage to perform the war victory which they considered to be the boon given by the Goddess, with that kind devotion and spirit these devotees are also involving themselves in this pooja thereby permitting the temple authorities or priest to smash or break the coconut on their heads during Aadi festival. Therefore, this kind of custom practised for several hundreds of years or time immemorial cannot be easily wiped out or

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brushed aside either by the authorities concerned or by this Court. 30. It is also to be noted that, even according to the affidavit filed by the petitioners, these rituals and poojas including the coconut breaking on the heads of the devotees at Aadi festival in the temple are performed under the supervision of the HR & CE officials, Revenue officials as well as Police officials. Therefore the State Administration through all its wings have been supervising what is going on in the temple during the festival and that kind of regulatory supervision being undertaken by the State Administration cannot be converted into a force to do away the customary practice, that too by way of offering poojas and sacrifices towards God to fulfill the vow of the devotees. 31. If at all any individual member of the petitioners' association or in their community, want to go out of this performances, the individual can take his own decision not to involve himself in such ritual which does not mean that, the entire community people or the religious denomination who come to the temple to perform their customary rituals or poojas every year are opposing this move. 32. Therefore, the law as has been declared by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid Judgments, does not recognize an individual right over the community's right, especially in the context of religious freedom, rituals, rights and customs of religion and its denomination. 33. When that being the position, this Court feels that, unless such religious customs, rituals, poojas performed by any religion or religious denomination or community are against the public order or morality and also become injurious to health in the eye of law, such kind of religious customs, practices and rituals cannot be injuncted or prevented by way of issuance of any order of the Court. Therefore this Court feels that, the prayer seeking writ of mandamus to give such a direction to the respondent and its subordinates to stop such religious ritual, performances, tradition, custom or offering of poojas, is totally unwarranted, unjustifiable and also amounts to the unnecessary interference of religious freedom. 34. In this context, this Court also wants to remind that, Section 295(A) of Indian Penal Code makes it very clear that, whoever with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment. 35. The intention of the legislature who brought Section 295(A) in the Statute Book as one of the punitive provision in Indian Penal Code has its own values and that should also be taken into consideration while dealing with these kind of issues. 36. Therefore this Court feels that the petitioners have not made out any case to seek for any direction by way of writ of mandamus as has been sought for in this writ petition. 37. The religious beliefs of any religion or religious denomination or community cannot be easily disturbed by the diktat of law courts except in the manner known to law, especially in the context of the Constitutional provisions as discussed above. Therefore this Court is not inclined to issue any direction as sought for in this writ petition. Accordingly this writ petition fails, hence it is deserved to be dismissed. 38. In the result, this Writ Petition is dismissed. However there shall be no order as to costs.
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