Madurai: The Madras High Court banned controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda from entering the 2500-year-old Saivite Madurai Adheenam mutt here. In an interim order on a petition opposing his plea seeking police protection to enter the mutt, Justice R Mahadevan of the Madurai bench also restrained Nithyananda and his disciples from interfering with its administration.
He ordered issue of notice to the Tamilnadu Chief Secretary, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR and CE) Commissioner and the Madurai district collector and adjourned the matter by four weeks.
Nithyananda, who was caught in a sex tape scandal in 2010 and facing charges of rape, was appointed as the 293rd pontiff of the ‘Madurai Adheenam‘ in 2012 by the present 292nd head. But the senior seer himself had revoked the appointment within months.
Nithyananda, who has an ashram in Karnataka, had last month moved the high court seeking police protection for discharging daily religious and spiritual activities at the mutt contending that once appointed a junior pontiff cannot be removed.
Meanwhile, a petition was filed charging Nithyananda with attempting to enter the mutt through the backdoor and opposing his prayer for protection. Petitioner Jagadalapradhaban further said Nithyananda had not disclosed previous court orders against him and had filed a new petition seeking police protection for him to enter the mutt.
This, the petitioner alleged, was being done by Nithyananda with the ulterior motive of seizing the prime properties of the mutt. Besides, there would be a law and order problem if Nithyananda was permitted to enter the mutt, the petitioner submitted. The self-styled godman was attempting to capture Saivite mutts at several places across the country including in Karnataka, the petitioner alleged.
Nithyananda in his petition had said he should be allowed to perform certain rituals as per the mutt tradition and alleged that some “illegal elements” were threatening him and his disciples with dire consequences whenever they visited it.