The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to implement a ban on mobile phones and cameras in temples across the State.

The bench of Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice J. Sathya Narayana Prasad was dealing with a plea seeking the prohibition of Mobile Phones inside the Sri Subramania Swamy Temple, Tiruchendur, Thoothukudi District.

The Court observed that "…the usage of mobile phones and cameras inside the premises, which diverts the attention of the devotees from the purpose of visiting the temple, can be regulated by the authorities concerned."

Advocate M.C.Swamy appeared for the petitioner whereas Standing Counsel M.Muthugeethayan appeared for the Respondent.

The Court noted that a ban on mobile phones has been introduced and successfully implemented in temples across the country to prevent nuisance to devotees.

The Court held that similar steps can be taken in the subject temple viz., Arulmigu Subramaniya Swamy Temple, Tiruchendur, as well by creating safety deposit counters for mobile phones and preventing the usage of cell phones inside the premises, to maintain decorum and sanctity of the temple.

It was brought to the notice of the Court that the Executive Officer / Joint Commissioner of the said temple has taken steps to impose restrictions for the usage of cell phones by the priest, devotees, public and others inside the temple.

To that effect, a report was filed on behalf of the Executive Officer/Joint Commissioner.

"In the light of the aforesaid report, which discloses that the second respondent has already taken all effective measures for ban on mobile phones, decent dress code, etc. inside the premises of the subject temple, this court directs the respondent authorities to implement the aforesaid conditions in letter and spirit,…", the Court held.

The Court directed the Commissioner of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department to comply with the above directions in all the Temples of Tamil Nadu so as to maintain purity and sanctity.

Petitioner-M.Seetharaman had argued that taking photographs of the valuable idols is not only contrary to the Agama Rules but also endangers the security of the temple and its valuables.

It was the grievance of the petitioner that using cell phones by the people / devotees inside the premises of the subject temple, causes inconvenience to others and affects the purity of the deity.

Cause Title- M.Seetharaman v. The Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department & Anr.

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