The Madras High Court Justice Anand Venkatesh held a special sitting in the early hours of Monday, January 22, regarding Tamil Nadu police denying permission for the live screening of the Ayodhya Ram Temple consecration ceremony in a private wedding hall. The court said that no permission is required from the police or The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department to hold events at private places. The court added that to hold events in temples that are under the control of HR&CE, the organisers can inform the authorities concerned and conduct live screening.
Vivekananda Hindu Organisation, linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), approached the Madras High Court after the police denied permission for an event in a private wedding hall in Chennai’s Pattabiram. The petitioner alleged that the police denied permission saying that the petition should have been filed seven days prior to the event and that several political parties opposed the event.
When the petition came up for hearing on Monday, the police informed the court that permission was granted to the organisers to conduct the event in a private hall. The court has also directed the police to provide security for crowd management.
Tamil Nadu BJP’s spiritual wing Kancheepuram Anmiga Peravai released a letter showing the outfit seeking permission for an event, in which Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was scheduled to participate on Monday.
The spiritual wing of Tamil Nadu BJP had organised the event for around 800-1000 people at Rajendra Gardens in Kancheepuram. The tent was removed by the organisers after police raised objections. The organisers of the event had sought police protection and informed that the minister will be participating in a bhajan event inside Kanchi Kamatchi temple from 9 am to 2 pm on Wednesday. The organisers had also given an undertaking that they will not be having a live screening during the bhajans and that they will not install any hoardings.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday told the Supreme Court that there was no ban enforced on organising live relay of the Pran Pratishtha (consecration ceremony) of Lord Ram at Ayodhya and on performing special poojas, bhajans or annadhanams. A writ petition was filed before the Supreme Court by the Tamil Nadu BJP stating that the DMK government has banned live screenings and special poojas for the consecration ceremony.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta recorded the statement made on behalf of the Tamil Nadu state government. "We believe and trust that the authorities will act in accordance with the law and not on the basis of any oral instructions. Permission cannot be denied on the sole ground that other communities are living in the location,” the court added.
The Supreme Court bench issued a notice on the petition and asked the state to keep a record of the applications received and the decisions taken on it. It further directed that oral orders assigning reasons for allowing or disallowing must be specified. Tamil Nadu Additional Advocate General Amit Anand Tiwari said that there were no such restrictions in the state and the petition was politically motivated.