High Court Decision on the Tirupati Entry of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister

High Court Decision on the Tirupati Entry of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister

A petition was filed in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh questioning the entry of Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy and some other Cabinet Ministers into Tirumala Tirupati temple. The contention raised was that the Chief Minister was Christian and had attended gospel meetings and sermons.

The single judge bench of Justice Battu Devanand rejected the petition and stated that the contention was not enough to make a person Christian. The court relied on the Indian Christian Marriage Act, Section -3 for the definition of Christians and Native Christians. The court stated that there was nothing on record which could prove that the Chief Minister is a professing Christian. The court stated that he had also attended gurdwara prayers, would that make him a sikh?

The petitioner Alokam Sudhakar Babu, further questioned the temple trust. He said that as per Rule 136 of Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987, every non-Hindu entering the temple had to sign a declaration that they have faith in Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy. He contended that the Chief Minister violated this rule and therefore he should not continue in his present post.

The court rejected all the contentions and said that he entered in the capacity of a Chief Minister and he does not need to give such a declaration as opined in Rule 136.

The court clarified that as a representative of the people this entry was not subject to Rule 136 but, his entry in a personal capacity should be by the declaration if he is not a Hindu.

The petition was dismissed.