Chennai: A petition seeking a direction to Tamil Nadu government to forbear controversial Nithananda from acting as the 293rd Pontiff of a 1500-year-old Saivaite Mutt by holding his appointment as illegal, arbitrary and contrary to the provisions of Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act-1959,was moved in the Madras High court on Thursday.
The petitioner, an advocate, also sought a direction to the authorities concerned to safeguard the assets of the Madurai Adheenam (Mutt) valued at several thousand crores of rupees.
A Vacation Bench comprising Justices CS Karnan and K Ravi Chandra Babu issued notice to the state authorities concerned and mutt and posted the petition for maintainability on June four.
Stating that he came to know about Nityananda, who is facing several criminal charges, including rape, being appointed as the pontiff by its present head from a news item in the press on April 30, the petitioner said apart from immoveable and moveable assets in the form of jewels, cash reserves and other objects of antique value, there were several temples under the control of the Mutt.
Contending that several cases were pending against Nityananda in courts in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the petitioner claimed that there had been a structured process in the selection of the Pontiff till the present appointment. The present appointment would sound the death knell to the institution, which had a world-wide following.