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Sunday, June 26, 2022

High Court Hears Case Through WhatsApp

For the first time in history, a judge has presided over a case via ‘WhatsApp,’ and on a Sunday.

Following a submission by PR Srinivasan, the hereditary trustee of Shri Abheeshta Varadaraja Swamy temple, that his village would face the ‘divine wrath’ if the proposed ‘Rath’ (Car) festival was not held today, Justice G R Swaminathan took up the case while stationed in Nagercoil, where he had gone to attend a wedding function yesterday.

In the first phrase of his judgement, the judge remarked, “this ardent prayer of the writ petitioner caused me to hold an emergency sitting from Nagercoil and handle the case by WhatsApp.”

The judge heard the case from Nagercoil, petitioner’s counsel V Raghavachari from one location, and Advocate-General R Shanmugasundaram from another location in the city. The problem included a temple in the Dharmapuri district.

The judge dismissed the order requiring the temple Thakkar (Fit person) and the hereditary trustee to stop the vehicle festival, ruling that the Inspector assigned to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Department lacked authority.

Earlier, the attorney general told the judge that the government is not opposed to the event being held. Their only interest is the general public’s safety.

WhatsApp Launches ‘Communities’

A tragedy occurred in a similar parade in Thanjavur district recently as a result of failing to adhere to safety rules, he noted, emphasising that such catastrophes should not happen again.

The procession can very well be held when the flaws pointed out in the contested communication are corrected, and the State may not object, he noted.

The judge quashed the impugned order and ordered the temple authorities to strictly follow the government’s rules and regulations when holding temple festivals, as well as the state-run discom TANGEDCO to cut power to the area for a few hours from the start of the processions until it returns to its stand (Nilai).

Last month, electrocution killed 11 people on the spot and injured 17 others near Thanjavur when a temple chariot collided with a High Tension electricity line during a parade.

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