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Updated on: Friday, January 07, 2022, 10:06 PM IST

FPJ Legal: 'God cannot be summoned by any court' rules Madras HC as it overturns lower court's order on producing idol for inspection

The genesis of the case is that a group of residents in the temple's neighbourhood had filed a writ petition saying the idol was stolen a few years ago.
Madras HC  | Photo: Representative Image

Madras HC | Photo: Representative Image

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Can God be summoned to appear in a court? Well, while divine intervention in a court case cannot be ruled out, especially electrocution could be claimed as an "act of God" during the trial, one cannot summon God to the court.

Holding that an idol is God, as per the belief of devotees, Justice R Suresh Kumar of the Madras High Court has observed: "Therefore, God (idol) cannot be summoned by any court to be produced for mere inspection or verification as if it is yet a material object in a criminal case."

The judge made the observations while passing interim orders in a case filed against a proposal to shift the 'moolavar' (main deity) of the Paramasivan Swamy temple in Kangeyam taluk in Tiruppur district in western Tamil Nadu for being produced in court.

The genesis of the case is that a group of residents in the temple's neighbourhood had filed a writ petition saying the idol was stolen a few years ago. Subsequently, it was recovered by the police and reinstalled in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple as per the Agama principles.

However, recently, a Special Court dealing with idol theft cases ordered production of the idol for inspection in the case pending before it, and the Executive Officer of the temple decided to oblige.

The residents objected to it saying the main deity cannot be shifted from the precincts of the sanctum sanctorum even for the purpose of producing in a court as part of trial proceedings.

Agreeing with the contention of the petitioners, Justice Suresh Kumar said that if it was an idol of the 'utsava moorthy' (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 (moolavar), if the same is installed once after performing pujas pursuant to Samprokshanam or Kumbabishekam (consecration) at the sanctum sanctorum, then the deity cannot be removed instantly, even of course according to the order passed by the court concerned,” he ruled.

As a via media, the judge said the Special Court could appoint an advocate commissioner and order him to examine the idol in the presence of the Executive Officer and a few devotees and submit a report to the court.

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Published on: Friday, January 07, 2022, 10:06 PM IST
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