The Madras High Court has granted four months to the revenue authorities to collect all details relating to lands belonging to various temples in Tamil Nadu and hand them over in compact discs to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam passed the order on a public interest litigation petition by the International Sri Vaishnava Dharma Samrakshana Society, represented by its president, Swamy Govinda Ramanujadasa, Nungambakkam, seeking a direction to the authorities to implement the G.O. of November 23, 2009. The petitioner said this would enable the authorities to defend the cases pending before the court. Nearly 4.78 lakh acres of lands belonged to temples in the State.

As per the G.O., the government had directed the Commissioner of Land Survey and Settlement to send the compact discs by scanning all the details of the temple lands. It also directed the Commissioner to take comprehensive efforts to collect all the details from the Archives Department and Collectorates concerned.

When the matter came up before Messrs.Justices Eqbal and Sivagnanam, the Commissioner filed a counter stating as per the directions in the G.O., all Collectors had been requested to send a detailed report in respect of the expenditure to be incurred, other requirements etc., for giving effect to the G.O. Complying with the directions, details of property in respect of eight districts – Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Tirupur, Tiruchirappalli, Sivaganga, Tiruvarur and Tirunelveli – had been received. Particulars with regard to Tiruvarur and Tirunelveli had already been sent to the Assistant Commissioner, HR and CE department. Reports from the other districts are awaited.

The matter will come up after four months for filing of status report by the authorities.

Keywords: temple lands

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