Madras HC asked- Country big or religion?

Chennai: The controversy regarding Hijab in Karnataka is not taking its name to stop. While the matter has been transferred to a larger bench after hearing a petition seeking the right to wear the hijab in Karnataka, the Madras High Court on Thursday (February 10, 2022) on the dress code controversy that continues in some parts of the country Expressing surprise, a serious comment has been made. In fact, a Madras High Court judge has reacted sharply to a petition seeking a complete ban on the entry of non-Hindus and foreigners into temples in Tamil Nadu. 

The petition, filed by Trichy-based activist Rangarajan, said the presence of non-Hindus and foreigners vitiates the purity of the temples. The petitioner has also demanded that a strict dress code should be enforced in temples and Hindus should wear bindi, bhasma, dhoti, saree and salwar kameez to prevent atheists from entering the temple. Commenting on this, a Madras High Court bench headed by Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Munishwar Nath Bhandari asked, 'What is paramount? Is this a country or a religion?'. The court said that, 'I mean, it is really shocking, someone is performing for the hijab, someone is going for the cap, someone is going for other things.' Questioning the intention behind such things, he further asked, ' Is it a country or is it divided by religions or something like that. It is very surprising.'

Referring to the fact that India is a secular country, Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari observed that, "What is emerging from the recent cases is nothing but an attempt to divide the country in a religious way." The ACJ made the remarks while hearing a batch of petitions filed by Srirangam-based activist Rangarajan Narasimhan, who wanted the court to order strict enforcement of the dress code for devotees, and non-Hindus across Tamil Nadu. Ban on entering temples.

However, the court also asked him to set an example to show the custom of the dress code used in religious rituals and made it clear that the practice differs from temple to temple. The court asked the petitioner that, when there is no particular dress code, then how does the question of putting up a display board on it arise. At the same time, when the petitioner sought orders, the court asked him to show in which part of the Agamas (Agama Shastra) the pants and shirt are mentioned. The court warned that he may be debarred from appearing in person before the court and directed him to use proper words and stay away from such disputes and quarrels.

According to media reports, Advocate General R Shanmugasundaram told the court that each temple is following its own customs and people belonging to other religions are allowed only 'Kodi Maram' (Flag Mast - as far as the flag of the temple is attached). He recalled that a division bench of the Madras High Court had already set aside an order of a single judge fixing the dress code as it was outside the scope of the writ petition and also, The order had triggered widespread outrage and debate. He told the court that, 'Each temple has its own custom. Some temples allow non-Hindus to visit certain areas. Non-Hindus cannot enter beyond the Kodi Maram (as far as the flag of the temple is concerned). That is the custom.' Lastly, the court has directed the petitioner to file an affidavit with their photographs showing the violation of dress code in temples.

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