For the very first time in the records of Madras High Court, a judge conducted an emergency hearing through WhatsApp, that too on Sunday. Justice GR Swaminathan heard a matter while he had gone to attend a marriage function in Nagercoil.
The bench was hearing a submission filed by PR Srinivasan, hereditary trustee of Shri Abheeshta Varadaraja Swamy temple. He had submitted that the village would face wrath if the Rath Yatra was not held on May 16. The matter was related to a temple in the Dharmapuri district.
As there was only one day left for the proposed festival, Justice Swaminathan heard the matter via WhatsApp.
“This fervent prayer of the writ petitioner made me hold an emergency sitting from Nagercoil and conduct the case through Whatsapp,” he said.
The judge held that the Inspector attached to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Department doesn’t have a jurisdiction to issue such orders to stop the festival. Justice Swaminathan quashed the order and gave permission to celebrate the festival.
Considering the safety standards in mind, the judge directed the temple authorities to follow the rules and regulations stipulated by the government while holding temple festivals and the state-run Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) to cut power supply in the area for a few hours, from the beginning of the processions till it reaches back to its stand (Nilai).
Eleven people lost their lives and seventeen were injured last month near Thanjavur. The mishap took place after a temple chariot came in contact with a high tension electricity line which led to electrocution.