The Madras High Court has held that barbers over 60 years of age should not be engaged to tonsure heads of devotees at the Palani temple in Dindigul district as they might injure them due to trembling of hands.
A bench in Madurai on Wednesday quashed an order of the management of the temple in Palani, which allowed barbers in that age group to perform the job.
A division bench, comprising justices A Selvam and P Kalaiyarasan passed the order on a petition filed by K Kuppuraj, a retired barber from Palani, challenging the order of the Executive Officer of Sri Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple at Palani.
Rejecting the contention of the temple advocate that the licence was issued only for a period of three months to cope with the rush during ‘Thai poosam’ festival, the bench wondered what would happen if a 65-year-old barber cut off the ears of devotees due to trembling of hands or ill-health.
The petitioner had submitted that there were 319 licensed barbers in the temple.
One of the conditions for issuing licence was that persons who are above 60 years of age are not entitled for the job, he pointed out.
He also claimed that though several demands had been made since 1989 to raise the age limit, the authorities had rejected them.
However, this year licences were issued to persons above 60 years of age in view of festive season, the petitioner added.