Chennai : Only Hindus can be appointed for teaching and non-teaching posts in educational institutions fully funded from the revenue of temples, Tamil Nadu government told the Madras high court on Friday.
There is a clear bar against recruiting non-Hindus to institutions run by the HR&CE department, Tamil Nadu advocate-general R Shunmugasundaram told the court citing a prohibition in the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Act. The submission was made in response to a public interest writ petition challenging a Hindu-only rule for recruitment of staff to Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Arts and Science College, Chennai.
Admitting the plea moved by A Suhail, who was not permitted to participate in the recruitment to posts of office assistant in the college, Justice C Saravanan directed the state to file a counter in two weeks.
According to the petitioner, imposition of a condition that only Hindus can apply for the post is illegal, anti-constitutional and liable to be struck down. He said neither the state nor the HR&CE department had authority to impose a condition prohibiting candidates from other religions to participate in such recruitments. Noting that the condition is in direct violation of the right to equality guaranteed under Article 16 of the Constitution, the petitioner said, “it is a Constitutional mandate that a state cannot discriminate on the ground of religion.” The only exception is to appointments made for office directly connected with affairs of any religion or its denominational institution, he said.
He added that such exemption cannot be claimed in recruitment to office assistant of an educational institution. The condition in the HR&CE Act that only persons professing Hindu religion can be appointed in the department or the temples it governs does not apply to an educational institution, he asserted. “The term specific endowment will not include an educational institution where no religious instruction can be taught to the students. It is clear from the preamble to the Constitution that the state is secular and it cannot choose any religion and undertake to spread the ideologies of the particular religion,” the petitioner said.
Source : TOI