About Jayendra Saraswati
Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal (born July 18, 1935 as Subramanyam Mahadeva Iyer) is the 69th Shankaracharya (guru and head or pontiff (Peetadhipathi)) of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, a Hindu religious institution.
Subramanyam Mahadeva Iyer was nominated by his predecessor, Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati as his successor and was given the title Sri Jayendra Saraswathi on March 22, 1954. He is one of the leading religious figures in Hinduism today. However, his occasional political statements have caused resentment, being considered unworthy of one in his high position.
On account of his sacerdotal office and his profound knowledge of the Hindu religion, he commands wide respect in India, particularly in religious Hindu circles. The Kanchi Math has grown into a strong organization under him. Further, the Kanchi Mutt is also widely patronised by many NRIs, particularly from the U.S.A. The Finance of the Kanchi Mutt runs into many millions and it runs many schools, eye clinics and hospitals, Shankara Nethralaya in Chennai and Guwahati, Assam, and the Children's Hospital, Hindu Mission Hospital and the Tamilnadu Hospital.
The Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu enacted a law to ban religious conversion, in keeping with the Shankaracharya's oft-expressed concerns. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/2356621.stm]. The Tamil Nadu government also started to enforce a preexisting ban on animal sacrifice in temples[http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/sep15/n8.asp], echoing concerns raised by the pontiff.
He was arrested on November 11, 2004 and charged by state prosecutors to being a conspirator in the murder of a temple manager, Sankararaman. On January 10 2005, he was able to secure bail from the Supreme Court of India although lower courts refused his bail application [http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/qrydisp.asp?tfnm=26701]. On 26th October 2005, the Supreme Court of India transferred the case out of the state of Tamil Nadu state to the adjoining Union Territory of Pondicherry. [http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/qrydisp.asp?tfnm=27305]. The supreme court however ruled against an appeal for CBI inquiry as the evidence against him was concrete.
The Sankaracharya's arrest attracted widespread media coverage, prompting accusations of a trial by media. The interest of the media decreased after successive verdicts of the High Courts in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as well as the Supreme Court of India. Particularly, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh found that the conduct of the media was improper.[http://judis.nic.in/andhra/qrydisp.asp?tfnm=832]