The Madras High Court on Tuesday said officers of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department should be present at 10 a.m. on Wednesday to enable the Chairman, Board of Trustees, along with the trustees and the public to count the hundial collections at the Arulmighu Velleeswarar Thirukoil (temple), Mylapore.

Passing orders on a petition, Justice P.Jyothimani said that after counting, the hundial collection amount should be deposited in the bank.

In his petition, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the temple, R.Shanmugam, said the temple was a denominational temple and was managed by the trustees selected by the Mylai Sengunthar Mahajana Sangam. Auditing alone was being conducted by the HR and CE auditors. After counting, the hundial collection was deposited in the Tamil Nadu State Cooperative Bank. Every year, immediately after the auditing, the temple sent a cheque for Rs.25,000 drawn in favour of the Commissioner, HR and CE department.

The temple hundials were last opened on August 10 last year by the order of Joint Commissioner, HR and CE Department.

When the department officials were approached for hundial opening dates, the officials said unless the contribution of 11 per cent of the temple's total annual income was paid as per the HR and CE Act, the department would not send its officers for the opening of the temple hundials.

The petitioner said that till date, the temple had not approached the government or the HR and CE Department to lend its services to the temple administration. So also, neither the government nor the department lent its services to the temple administration.

Therefore, the temple was not liable to pay the contribution.

The temple had sent a representation, but the department had not passed any order with regard to the payment of contribution. Because of this, the temple hundials were overflowing. The hundials had been temporarily closed for safety. Thus, the temple's income had been curtailed.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National