Chennai: Madras High Court on Friday reserved its order over a batch of petitions, praying for removal of self-styled controversial godman Nithyananda as head of a 1,500 year-old Saivaite Mutt.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices R Banumathi and R Subbiah reserved their orders on the petitions.

On October 16, Advocate General A Navananeethakrishna had submitted that government was taking steps to take action against the head of the Mutt, as appointment of Nithyananda as its successor was in violation of Section 59 of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act.

He submitted that two persons cannot be head of the Mutt and appointment of Nithyananda as the next successor was in violation of the Act.

He also contended that petitions relating to this case cannot be considered as a PIL, since no fundamental right has been violated.

He said the successor must be a Mutt disciple, be competent enough and follow rituals and procedures being followed right from the days of Thirugnanasambandar.

Nithyananda is facing charges of rape and criminal intimidation levelled against him in 2010 after some TV channels telecast purported video footage of him in a compromising position with an actress.
Meanwhile in Madurai, government pleader Tamilselvan informed a local court that Nithyananda's nomination as the Mutt's 293rd pontiff was illegal and not proper as per custom.

He said there were many charges against present pontiff Arunagirinathar, including selling of Mutt property without approval of HR&CE board and forming a trust jointly with Nithyanandha for taking control and management of Mutt properties.

Mutt counsel sought time to file a counter as documents relating to the charges and the cases were not with them, to which Tamil selvan said all documents were obtained from the Mutt itself and they should have copies of it.

Judge Guruviah posted the case for further hearing on October 29.


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