Source: Inhouse illustration
Source: Inhouse illustration

Madras HC frowns upon lower court summoning God

One-liner: Wondering if God can be summoned by a court to be produced for inspection, the Madras High Court has pulled up a lower court for ordering the authorities of a temple in Tirupur district to produce the presiding deity.

Judge pulls up lower court: A judge pulled up the lower court in Kumbakonam, which is dealing with idol theft cases, for ordering the authorities to produce the said idol belonging to a temple in Tirupur district.

  • The judge was passing interim orders on a writ petition challenging the move of the authorities concerned to lift the idol from the pedestal and produce it before the Kumbakonam court

Driving the news: According to the petitioner, the idol in the ancient temple was stolen, subsequently retrieved by the police and produced before the court concerned-- the Special Court Dealing with Idol Theft Cases in Kumbakonam. 

  • Then it was handed over to the temple authorities and re-installed in the shrine 

Need to know: While so, the Judicial Officer, who is dealing with the Idol theft cases at Kumbakonam issued a direction to produce the idol for inspection and to complete the enquiry before the court, on Jan 6. 

Why the writ: When an attempt was made by the temple executive officer to remove the idol for production before the court at Kumbakonam, the devotees, including the petitioner, objected to it. Hence, the present writ petition.

Behind the scenes: Passing the orders on Thursday, the judge said the idol need not be removed and produced before the court concerned, the reason being that, it, according to the belief of the devotees, is the God.

  • The God cannot be summoned by the court to be produced for mere inspection or verification purposes, as if it is a material object of a criminal case 

Bottom line: The judicial officer could have deputed an advocate-commissioner to inspect the idol without affecting its divinity or wounding the feelings of devotees. The judge posted the matter after four weeks for filing the counter.

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