Reversing a lower court's decision, the Madras High Court has noticed that an idol believed to be a God by the devotees cannot be summoned by the Court.
The lower court in Kumbakonam was hearing a case in which the Moolavar (presiding deity) idol had been stolen, traced, and reinstalled at the shrine in Paramasivan Swamy temple in Siviripalayam.
Justice R Suresh Kumar said the lower court judge, instead, could have deputed an advocate-commissioner to inspect/verify the veracity of the idol and recorded his findings/report. The 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 the Paramasivan Swamy temple in Siviripalayam 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.
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. Kumbabhishekam ritual was also performed later. The idol now was being worshipped by a large number of devotees including the villagers.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Officer, who is dealing with the Idol theft cases at Kumbakonam issued a direction to produce the idol i.e., the 'Moolavar' itself for inspection and to complete the enquiry before the court, on January 6. 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, strongly objected to it. Hence, the present writ petition.
Finding force in his submission, the judge ruled that if it was a processional deity, the Executive Officer would have been justified in producing the same before the special court after following the rules laid down in the Agamas.
“However, in the case of the main deity, if the same is installed once after performing pujas pursuant to Samprokshanam or Kumbabishekam at the sanctum sanctorum, then the deity cannot be removed instantly, even of course pursuant to the order passed by the court concerned,” he said.
"Hence, the aforesaid measure shall be undertaken by the Magistrate and the idol i.e. the Moolavar need not be removed for the said purpose. This order shall be executed by all concerned including the Magistrate (in Kumbakonam), to whom a copy of this order shall be forwarded by the Registry," the judge said and posted the matter after four weeks for filing counter.
In this writ petition, the Justice Kumar said the special court could appoint an advocate commissioner and order him to examine the idol, in the presence of the Executive Officer as well as a few devotees, and submit a report to the court and also said that the idol could not be removed, as it is being regarded as God by devotees.