Can’t retire Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams hereditary priests: Hyderabad high court slaps communists

December 14, 2018

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad high court has held that the country’s richest temple board, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), cannot retire its priests belonging to the hereditary archaka (priest) families, at

65. The court has ruled that normal service rules do not apply to these priests because they belong to a special class and TTD board resolutions governing other employees cannot be made applicable to them.
The judgment was delivered on Wednesday after hearing a plea by two hereditary priests, A B Seshadri and M G Murali, who questioned the June 2018 order of the TTD which retired them from one of the TTD temples, Sri Padmavathi Ammavari temple at Tiruchanoor. There are four hereditary priest families who perform the rituals at TTD temples. This includes the family of chief priest Ramana Dikshitulu. He too was retired along with the petitioners.
With this, Ramana Dikshitulu, a vocal critic of N Chandrababu Naidu’s Andhra Pradesh government, could be reinstated to the powerful post.
TTD came to wrong conclusion on rules
Delivering the judgement, Justice M S Ramachandra Rao termed the retirement order as unconstitutional. He said TTD ought to have taken note that the state government as well as the Supreme Court have time and again treated hereditary priests as a special category entitled to special benefits notwithstanding the abolition of hereditary rights.
He said special category had been made to preserve the customs and sanctity of religious rituals handed to the present generation by their ancestors to ensure traditional rituals are performed according to sastras. TTD did not keep these relevant factors in mind and came to an erroneous conclusion that rules are applicable to other employees of TTD, including the age of superannuation, automatically applied to hereditary priests as well, the judgement said. At the time of his forced retirement in May, Ramana Dikshitulu had been alleging there were several irregularities in Tirumala temple and demanded a CBI probe. Many believe it was because of his remarks that the TTD extended the retirement rule to priests and retired the chief priest on the ground he had crossed 65 years, the retirement age fixed for priests.
The judge recorded that the state and its endowments department remained silent and did not file a counter in the matter. In fact, the state has not framed any rules regarding age of superannuation for hereditary archakas. The trust board has no jurisdiction to pass resolutions on this matter, the judge said and set aside TTD’s resolution.
Senior counsel P Venugopal, who argued the case of the petitioners, told TOI that this order is applicable to only those priests who belong to the hereditary archaka families of the temple. TTD sources said the temple administration will challenge the order in the Supreme Court.


“High court slaps those communists whose eye on TTD wealth. Atleast high court realised the importance of preserving our culture in this matter.”- Editor, Vedic Upasana Peeth


Source : Times of India

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