In what was a major victory for His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda, the Madurai Bench of the High Court of Madras recognized him as the Junior Pontiff of the Madurai Adheenam and allowed him to be impleaded in the case WP 19004 file by the the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments board against the Madurai Adheenam Mutt.
The order was passed cancelling the earlier order of the lower court in IA 247 of 2012 in OS 1000 of 2012 which barred Paramahamsa Nithyananda from participating in the case against him in OS 1000 of 2012. While Paramahamsa Nithyananda has been very evidently and publicly the target of the case filed by the HR&CE he was, paradoxically, not allowed to participate in the trial and the case had proceeded only between the Government and the current pontiff, the 292nd Guru Maha Sannidhanam.
Last month, arguing for the Paramahamsa Nithyananda, Senior Advocate Arvind Subramaniam contended that not allowing Paramahamsa Nithyananda to participate in a case where he was the target was unsustainable under law and against the well-settled principles and various orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and that if it was allowed to stand would occasion miscarriage of justice and an abuse of the process of law.
Agreeing with this, the Court set aside the order of the lower court which denied Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s request to be a part of the case against him saying that if he was not impleaded he would be put to irreparable loss and hardship while no prejudice would be caused to the Government by this implead.
The Court in today’s ruling went further and recognized Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s status as the Junior Pontiff of the Mutt noting that “from the perusal of the records available in the typed set of papers and the scheme document enclosed herein it is clear that the customary practice enumerated therein does not have a clause for the removal of the Junior Pontiff” and that Acharya Abhishekam (one of the rituals required to anoint a person as Junior Pontiff) could be performed by a Pontiff only once in his lifetime and only to one person and hence no one else could be appointed subsequent to Paramahamsa Nithyananda as the Junior Pontiff. The Court hence concluded that his appointment was irrevocable and hence he was the Junior Pontiff and successor to the 2nd Respondent, the 292nd Pontiff.
The Hon’ble High Court took the Government to task and observed that the learned Addl. Govt. Pleader has not submitted any evidence regarding the allegations of criminal cases or convictions against Swamiji though that was the basis on which his removal was sought by the Government.
Madurai Adheenam is a 3000 year old Monastery established by Goddess Meenakshi, the warrior queen of Madurai and revived 1500 years ago by the famous young Shaivite Saint Thirgnanasambandar. Since then, 292 Pontiffs have held the post of the head of the Mutt and Swami Nithyananda was appointed as the Junior Pontiff or the 293rd Pontiff “to be” in April 2012. Subsequently, owing to pressures and threats from various vested interests including the filing of the current suit by the Government of Tamil Nadu, the current pontiff claimed that he had revoked the said appointment. Swami Nithyananda then approached the High Court backed by many rulings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the documentation of the customs and traditions of the Madurai Adheenam which say that such arbitrary revocation is not valid and is illegal.
In March 2018 a single judge of the Madras High Court retrained Paramahamsa Nithyananda from entering the Madurai Adheenam or its temples, but that order was set aside in May by a Division Bench of the High Court questioning the propriety of the order in the light of the civil cases that were pending in lower courts and the constitutional validity of preventing a person from entering his place of worship.
Today’s win is the second in recent weeks for the young Paramahamsa Nithyananda and marks a turn of the tide in his favour in his attempt to retain his position as the Pontiff to be of what is said to be the oldest monastic institution in the world.