Nithayananda can't go to Madurai Adheenam

By PTI Published on Mar 06, 2018 06:38 PM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court ordered self-styled godman Nithyananda not to enter the Madurai Adheenam, a centuries old Saivite Mutt in Tamilnadu, observing that his appointment as its 293rd pontiff had been revoked six years ago.

"As his appointment has been revoked and (a suit related to it is) pending adjudication before a civil court, he has no right to enter the mutt or any temple under the mutt either as a junior pontiff or the 293rd pontiff," Justice R Mahadevan said.

The judge was hearing a petition filed by M Jagathalapradapan, a resident of Madurai where the mutt is headquartered, seeking to forebear Nithyananda from interfering in the mutt affairs.

Nithyananda was appointed as the 293rd head of the Madurai Adheenam in October, 2012 by incumbent and 292nd chief Gnanasamband Desika Paramacharya Swamigal.

However, the senior pontiff himself annulled the appointment later following protests by devotees. In December 2017, the high court had passed interim orders restraining Nithyananda and his disciples from entering the Madurai Aadheenam until further orders.

In his order today, Justice Mahadevan found faults with the present head of the mutt for the manner in which he appointed Nithyananda and then removed him.

"A person heading the prestigious institution must be consistent in his approach, not above the customary practice of the mutt and the law. (He) should not take decisions according to his own whims and fancies in violation of the procedures followed under Saivite mutts for appointing the successor...," he said.

Also, the submission by the present head that Nithyananda without his knowledge had obtained his signatures in various deeds as well as affidavits, was not only incorrigible but also callous, he said. "It is his moral responsibility to run the mutt without giving any room to debate and also without affecting the faith of its worshippers," Justice Mahadevan said.

He directed the Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments HR and CE department to ensure that Nithyananda was not permitted to enter the Madurai Adheenam for whatsoever reasons pending disposal of the civil suit.

He also said any appropriate action, including seeking police intervention, if necessary be taken. The judge further directed the HR & CE department to collect the schemes and procedures of various mutts in the state in the appointment of successors and the properties vested with them, within a period of eight weeks and submit the same before the court.

Steps shall also be taken to nullify any similar trust deeds executed by any mutt heads as in this case whereby, under the guise of trust, the administration of the entire properties of the trust were vested with third parties by subverting the provisions of HR & CE Act, he said.

The petitioner had sought a direction to protect the mutt and also permanently prevent Nithyananda from interfering with its activities.

He submitted that Madurai Aadheenam was a world renowned monastery spreading the cause of Saivism.

As per the events chronicled in various literatures, the mutt had its origin around the 6th century A.D. He alleged that Nithyananda was trying to trespass into the mutt and attempting to swindle its funds and properties.