HC upheld HR & CE dept.’s withdrawal of exemption; devotees dismayed
A day after the Madras High Court upheld an order of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department, withdrawing exemptions to the Viswaroopa Adhivyadhihara Sri Bhaktha Anjaneyaswami Temple in Nanganallur, the temple was formally taken over by the government.
A hundi was installed inside the temple with a notice stating that as per a notification of the department, a ‘Fit Person’ (thakkaar) had been appointed at the temple on Friday. Officials said the temple had applied and received exemptions from the department under provisions of HR and CE Act of 1959, soon after it was consecrated in 1995. When the exemption tenure came to an end some years ago, the temple, managed by a private trust, appealed for renewal and the department granted it. However, there were complaints of certain irregularities in the handling of money that was received from the public.
The officials said that receipts for money received from devotees were issued in the name of the trust instead of the temple itself. As there were issues regarding accountability, the department issued notices to the trust asking why the exemptions should not be withdrawn.
The reply submitted by the trust was not convincing, said officials and hence the decision to take over the temple. In a couple of days, the takeover would be complete, the officials added.
Devotees and residents of Ram Nagar in Nanganallur, who volunteer at the temple, were dismayed at the move. One of the volunteers, a former government employee, who now helps distribute ‘prasadam’ plates, said the lives of many people in Ram Nagar revolved around the temple. The takeover had come as a shock to them, she said.