VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking orders for removal of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy as Chief Minister for visiting Tirumala temple without signing a declaration form affirming his faith in Lord Venkateswara.

The High Court said that the rule that non-Hindus should give a declaration affirming faith in Lord Venkateswara was not applicable to Jagan Mohan Reddy as he offered Pattu Vastrams (traditional silk robes) to the presiding deity during Brahmotsavams in the capacity of Chief Minister of the State.

Dealing with a petition filed by A Sudhakar Babu, a farmer from Guntur district,  seeking the court directions to disqualify Jagan Mohan Reddy for not signing the declaration, Justice B Devanand said that the rule of giving declaration is applicable only to non-Hindus who want to have darshan of the Lord.

The Judge said the petitioner could not submit any evidence to prove that Jagan Mohan Reddy is a Christian. By offering prayers at a church, reading the Bible or attending gospel meetings, one cannot be considered as a person belonging to Christianity. Jagan Mohan Reddy offered prayers at a Gurudwara in Vijayawada and by this it cannot be said that he is a Sikh, the Judge said. 

The High Court Judge said that former President APJ Abdul Kalam signed the declaration as he offered prayers at Tirumala temple with faith in Lord Venkateswara. It is an age old tradition that the Chief Minister of the State offers Pattu Vastrams to the presiding deity during Brahmotsavams. Jagan Mohan Reddy did not go to Tirumala on his own, but went to offer silk robes on the invitation of the TTD Trust Board. Hence, the rule of signing the declaration was not applicable to the Chief Minister, the Judge said and dismissed the petition.

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