Hyderabad: A division bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday held that the gold plating work of the sanctum sanctorum of famous Tirumala temple undertaken by the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) was "illegal and unconstitutional".
The bench comprising Justice B Prakasha Rao and Justice Reddy Kantha Rao found fault with the TTD for taking up the project in a hurry and in a whimsical manner.
The TTD had announced Anantha Swarnamaya Pathakam and solicited donations in gold for the scheme.
The petitioners, including Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy, who appeared in court as party in person, and IPS officer G Raghava Reddy among others, contended that rare inscriptions on walls of the temple would be destroyed if the gold plating work is undertaken.
The petitioner argued that the inscriptions have religious value and the main temple will be weakened as more than 1400 rivets would be drilled into the temple walls during the gold plating work.
However, the TTD argued that these inscriptions were photographed, translated and published and took a stand that it was a secular activity.
The court remarked that the activity cannot form part of secular activity and as such was without any jurisdiction and in violation of article 25 and 26 of the Indian constitution.
The bench also took into consideration, report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which said that the gold plating will damage the inscriptions and the structure in the long run.
The bench asserted that the inscriptions pertain to the temple deity and are of immense value. It pointed out that no project report was prepared for the project which reflected the whimsical approach.