Hyderabad: Hyderabad High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on authorities of Tirumala Tirupati Devas-thanams (TTD) for serving termination notices to Christian and Muslim employees. This was bei-ng done on grounds that non-Hindus could not be allowed to work in its institutions. A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice K. Vijaya Lakshmi while dealing with the petition by non-Hindu employees of the TTD, came at their rescue, directing authorities not to pass on any termination orders till next Wednesday.
The petitioners urged the court to declare as illegal and unconstitutional Rule 9(4) of TTD Employees Service Rules which prohibited employment to non-Hindus in temples run by the TTD and temples run with the financial aid of the TTD.
The ACJ asked the TTD counsel whether the devasthanams had made cle-ar the condition that non-Hindus were not allowed for the jobs during recrui-tment.He said they had been serving in the TTD for the past several years and now throwing them out on the ground of their religion was ‘sheer injustice and nothing but depr-iving them of their livelihood’.
The bench said they had joined by disclosing their religion and now the TTD was venturing to termin-ate them as if they suppr-essed their religion. It re-minded that non-Hindu foreigners were allowed to visit the Tirumala temple. The bench said the TTD could not ignore the fact that the petitioners were not working in the temples but in various institutions run by the TTD, including hospitals and other offices as mazdoors, drivers, attenders, gardeners, watchmen and sanitary workers.
Counsel for the petitioner J. Sudheer submitted that the petitioners had given an undertaking during their appointment that they would respect Hindu culture and its rituals and they had not violated the undertaking.
TTD counsel Y. Balaji said the devasthanams had received representations from various Hindu religious organisations that non-Hindus could not be allowed to work in TTD institutions. The bench directed TTD to file a counter-affidavit.