The Madras High Court said today that controversial godman Nithyananda can enter the Madurai Adheenam as a common man to pray, but was not entitled to fulfil the role of the pontiff of the 'Mutt', citing pendency of a related case in a lower court.
Disposing of Nithyananda's petition seeking police protection for his entry into the mutt and perform roles and responsibilities as 293rd pontiff of Madurai Adheenam, Justice MV Muralidharan passed the order.
"The legality of Nithyananda as 293rd Guru Maha Sannidhanam is pending before the competent court of law and hence the petitioner is not entitled to enter into Madurai Adheenam in the capacity as 293rd adheenam," the judge said.
He also observed that Nithyananda has the right to enter the mutt as an ordinary citizen and it was the duty of the police to give him protection as a citizen of the country.
The godman should inform about his visit in advance, the judge said and added that he (Nithyananda) should not create any law and order problem.
In December 2017, the court had passed interim orders restraining Nithyananda and his disciples from entering the mutt till further orders.
The court had on January 29 warned of issuing arrest warrant against Nithyananda if he failed to rectify the "misleading statements" made in his earlier affidavits that he was the 293rd head of the mutt.
Subsequently, Nithyananda expressed regret before the court for claiming that he was the head of Madurai Adheenam, a centuries-old renowned Saivite Mutt in Tamil Nadu.
Nithyananda was briefly appointed to head the mutt in October, 2012.
However, the senior pontiff annulled the appointment later following protests by devotees.
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