Decided on August 21,2019

Jagarlamudi Venkata Subbarao Appellant


M. Satyanarayana Murthy, J. - (1.)One Jagarlamudi Venkata Subbarao, resident of H.No.3-9, Pamidipadu Post, Pamidi Padu, Prakasam District, filed this pro bono publico/Public Interest Litigation under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking writ of Mandamus to declare the action of respondent Nos.1 and 2 in granting Very Important Person Break Darshanam to a specific category of devotees as illegal, unconstitutional, arbitrary and ultra vires to Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, alleging that the Lord Venkateshwara Temple in Tirumala is administered by an institution constituted under Section 96 of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987 (for short "the Act") known as Tirumala Tirupathi Devesthanams (for short "TTD"). Under the garb of sanction gathered under resolutions passed by the TTD or under any other provisions of law purportedly to prove better management and to ensure security requirements for a specific section of devotees, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh in concert with the TTD has virtually usurped the fundamental religious rights of devotees.
(2.)It is further alleged that the action of the respondents in categorization of people on the basis of position an individual holds in the society or based on individual's influence, is a categorical travesty of constitutional safeguards, abuse of legal process, statutory power and vitiated by mala fide and extraneous considerations as every devotee has a fundamental right to worship deity equally.
(3.)It is averred that respondent No.3 - Temple in permitting VIP Break Darshanam to specific sections of devotees based on their status and such a Darshanam is further categorized into List-1, List2 and List-3 (will be referred to as Rs.1, Rs.2 and Rs.3 for the sake of convenience), which is not based on any procedure under the Act. Hence, pleaded that the executive body is not entitled to make such categorization while exercising a power which is not conferred on them. Therefore, it is urged that categorization of devotees as Rs.1, Rs.2, and Rs.3 is arbitrary. It is also contended that categorization of pilgrims of a section as Rs.1, Rs.2 and Rs.3 has become a breeding ground for unlawful activities in Tirumala. There is clear distinction the way these Rs.1, Rs.2, Rs.3 and other general category devotees worship the deity of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirumala. All the devotees who are categorized as Rs.1 category, can stay close to the deity in the sanctum sanctorum and special prayers and Harati would be offered to them at the instance of the TTD Management. All the devotees who are categorized under Rs.2 category can also stay close to the deity but no special prayers or Harati will be offered to them inside the sanctum sanctorum, while the devotees who are categorized under Rs.3 Category can worship the deity from a reasonable distance, farther than Rs.1 and Rs.2 devotees with no special prayers or Harati being offered to them. All other devotees who fall under the ambit of general category must worship the deity from a farther distance than L1, L2 and L3 and they would be allowed to be in the sanctum sanctorum for few seconds only.

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