Former Union Law Minister and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has called for an end to the system of government control on temples in India.

Inaugurating a meeting of Hindu organisations held under the auspices of the Hindu Aikya Vedi here on Saturday to mobilise opinion against the Bill moved by the Kerala government to amend the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950, Dr. Swamy said the government can take over the administration of a temple only over grave maladministration of property. After rectifying any administrative lapses, after a period of three years it should be returned to the original trustees.

Dr. Swamy said he was impleading himself in a petition filed by the Karnataka government in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to State governments to return to the original trustees those temples they have been managing for more than three years. If the court accepts the plea, the Kerala government would have to return temples including the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple and the Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple to their original trustees or the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha.

Even while taking over the administration, the government has no right to interfere with temple rites, Dr. Swamy said. The powers have been restricted to managing property.

Dr. Swamy termed the Bill moved by Kerala as an open and crude interference with the right to profess the Hindu religion. The provisions to include a social reformer and a woman singing devotional songs in the Devaswom board constitute interference with religious affairs.

The provision that seeks to empower the government to call for records of temple proceedings and to modify, reject or to send them back for review, is gross interference. Dr. Swamy said he was waiting for the government pass the Bill so that he can approach the court. He urged the Assembly Subjects Committee to return the Bill to seek the expert advice of the Hindu Aikya Vedi and the Acharya Sabha.

The time has come for a Hindu renaissance.

He called upon the Vedi activists to hold public meetings across Kerala to generate public opinion against the Bill.