Saturday, February 18, 2006

In temple, consumer is god -The Telegraph

This news appeared on 15th Feb. 2006 in The Telegraph

In temple, consumer is god
- No bath water, trust fined for deficiency in service

A pilgrim who had to go without a bath after tonsuring his head at an ancient temple in Tamil Nadu has been awarded Rs 500 in damages by a consumer court.

The order is perhaps the first directing a temple devasthanam (trust) to pay compensation for “deficiency in service”.

Selvakumar, an advocate, had visited the famous Shri Devanathaswamy temple at Tiruvendipuram village, 10 km from Cuddalore, with his family on February 7, 2000.

The temple attracts thousands of pilgrims, many of whom come with their children because it also has a shrine to Hayagreeva (Vishnu with the horse’s mouth who saved the Vedas), revered as the Lord of Learning in the Hindu pantheon.

Selvakumar had his head tonsured and paid Rs 5, out of which the barber’s share was Rs 4 while Re 1 went to the devasthanam.

According to a complaint filed at the Cuddalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Selvakumar went to take a bath after tonsuring his head but found that the tap in the bathroom near the tonsure centre had run dry.

A nearby hand pump was also not working and Selvakumar could not take a dip in the Gadilam river that courses around the temple because the “water was contaminated with human excreta, drainage water and rubbish”.

Without a bath he could not go for a darshan of the deity, so the pilgrim approached the temple authorities for help.

But the clerk at the “devasthanam office abused me and told me he was not bothered as to whether the complainant was an advocate or a collector” and asked him to do whatever he could, the complaint said full story>>

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