The Madras High Court Tuesday lamented 'archakas' (priests) were not coming forward to complain to the authorities in case of idol thefts in temples.
The priests were functioning mechanically and not bearing in mind that they were doing service to God, a bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice P D Audikesavalu observed.
The court was hearing a petition alleging replacement of an ancient idol of peacock at the Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore here and seeking a direction for conducting consecration after installing a new idol.
The bench, specially constituted to deal with the cases of idol thefts, directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department to file its reply within four weeks.
Petitioner Rangarajan Narasimhan of Srirangam submitted that the idol of a peacock holding a flower in its beak at the temple had been missing for long and now there was an idol of the bird holding a snake in its beak, which was against the 'agamas' (traditional codes for temples).
He also prayed for a direction for the removal of present trustees and the officials of the temple and formation of a committee under the head of a retired Judge of the high court with Agama experts for its administration.
The bench sought to know why the archakas have not brought the replacement of the idol to the knowledge of the government.
"Is it not the duty of the archakas to take it to the knowledge of the government?" the court asked, while observing that they were working in a mechanical manner.
Counsel for the HR&CE submitted that an enquiry was on and it would file a counter.
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