Interim stay on single judge order on taking over Nithyananda trust`s land
Chennai: Madras High Court on Thursday passed an interim stay on a single judge`s order, which had quashed show cause proceedings issued by Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department on taking over 2.83 acres of land belonging to a trust owned by controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda, in Tiruvannamalai.
When an appeal by the Tamil Nadu government came up for hearing today, a Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal passed an interim stay on the order passed by Justice K Chandru on January 30 last.
Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, Tiruvannamalai, represented by its Manager Nithyapranananda, had filed a writ challenging the Oct 11 2012 show cause notice of HR&CE seeking an explanation from it to why they should not be brought under HR&CE Act.
A single judge, in his Jan 30 2013 order had allowed the same and quashed the show cause notice. Hence the present appeal.
HR&CE contended that the single judge ought not to have entertained the writ, since it was only a show cause notice.
It also said that the respondent, taking advantage of the single judge`s order, may continue to perform activities of religious worship and rituals, though it was not the object and function of the Peedam and enrich itself by illegal means, for which the HR&CE will have to be a mute spectator.
It also contended that following the footsteps of the Gnanapeedam, there is also chance of growth of such type of institutions throughout the state, which the department would not be able to control.
Nithyananda is facing a CID probe into charges of rape and criminal intimidation levelled against him in 2010 after some TV channels telecast purported video footage of the self styled godman in a compromising position with an actress.
The godman is already embroiled in a spate of criminal cases, including rape and physical assault. His ashram was raided in June last year by police in the wake of a US-based woman alleging she was sexually abused by him over a five year period.
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