Madras High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) praying for direction to authorities to remove the shops around the Palani Temple Hills Girivala pathai run by Muslims and people from other religions.
The petitioner had argued they were eating beef and insulting the religious faith of the devotees, thereby creating disharmony.
According to a report published on the website Livelaw , the petitioner (party-in-person), who is also a practicing lawyer and President, Hindu Munnetra Kazhagam had contented that around Palani Hills, the entire circle of the Holy Hills was used as Girivalapathai.
In his petition, he also argued that the devotees felt uncomfortable to cross the shops inside the vicinity of the temple as they were Muslims and other faiths. Occupants of such shops, according to the petitioner, indiscriminately used beef and other non- vegetarian food.
Dismissing his contentions, the division Bench comprising Justices S.Manikumar and C.T.Selvam said, “Contention of the petitioner that the temple property, adjacent to Girivalathapathai, are occupied by people belonging to Islam and other religion is unsubstantiated, by even a scrap of paper. The petitioner has not substantiated that people belonging to other religion cannot have any shops in the property”.
The Bench added, “The other contention that the occupants of the shops indiscriminately eat beef and other non vegetarian food, by sitting in the stairs of the Palani Hills and insulting the religious faith of Hindus and if the same is not eventually checked, it would lead to disharmony, is not supported by any evidence. The further contention that by eating non- vegetarian food they have created discomfort to Hindu devotees also not substantiated”.
The Court also held that
“NOWHERE IN THE INDIAN PENAL CODE IT IS STATED THAT EATING NON- VEGETARIAN FOOD IS AN OFFENCE. THERE IS NO LAW TOUCHING EATING HABITS OF ANY RELIGION AND IN SUCH A VIEW OF THE MATTER, THE CONTENTION OF THE PETITIONER THAT EATING BEEF IS AN OFFENCE, CANNOT BE ACCEPTED”.