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Government rules to appoint  Archakas are valid: High Court

Government rules to appoint Archakas are valid: High Court

The Madras High Court on Monday said that the government rules to appoint archakas at temples are valid. 
As per the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Institutions Employees (condition of service) rules, 2020,  only those who aged between 18 and 35 years and completed a year-long course at Agama schools could be appointed as archakas at temples. Challenging the rules, several organizations and individuals had filed petitions at the Madras High Court and during one of the hearings in October 2021, the court had said that the appointment of archakas is subject to the judgement in the case. 

When the case was heard by a bench headed by chief justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari, petitioners said that it is illegal for the temporary administrators to appoint archakas during the absence of temple trustees as only trustees have the power to appoint archakas.The petitioners also slammed the Tamil Nadu government for appointing belonging to all castes as archakas upon completing a case while Agama rules state that only those belonging to a certain caste could become archakas. 

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) said that all the appointments at the temples had been made strictly in accordance with the Supreme Court judgements passed in 1972 and 2015 and based on the High Court directions passed in June, this year and it is based on the recommendations of the panel formed to review the eligibility of the archakas, the government has asked the people who completed a year-long course to apply for the post. 

“Also, the department is not prioritizing those who completed the course and they are treated on par with those who underwent training as per the traditional methods,” the department said. Pronouncing judgement on the case on Monday, the Court said that the rules framed by the Tamil Nadu government to appoint archakas at the temples are valid and the archakas should be appointed in accordance with Agama rules.