HC directs HR&CE dept to explain how Mylapore Club owes ₹4.77 crore

The Madras High Court on Wednesday asked the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department to submit a calculation memo listing details regarding the amount of rent paid by the Mylapore Club to the Kapaleeswarar Temple in the last 22 years and how it had arrived at arrears of Rs.4.77 crore.

Justice R. Suresh Kumar directed special government pleader T. Chandrasekaran to ensure that the calculation memo was filed by January 27. The direction was issued following a writ petition filed by the club challenging a notice issued on December 22 demanding rental arrears for 57,420 square feet of temple land.

Senior counsel Satish Parasaran brought it to the notice of the court that the club had originally obtained over 42 acres of the temple land on lease from 1901 to 2000. In 1999, a year before the 99-year lease period could expire, the temple management indicated that it would require monthly rent of Rs. 9.7 lakh for extending the lease.

However, since the club was not a commercial venture and its activities were run on a “not-for-profit basis” focusing on serving a “social and humanitarian purpose,” the club management negotiated with the temple administration for a fair and reasonable rent for continuing the lease.

Accordingly, a Government Order was issued on March 9, 2007 fixing a monthly rent of ₹3.27 lakh (being 0.10% of the guideline value of the property) from August 2000 to October 2004 and ₹4.36 lakh a month from November 2004 till 2007 when the club gave back a little over 18 out of the 42 grounds to the temple.

After the handing over of 18 grounds to the temple, the monthly rent for the rest of the 23 grounds was fixed at ₹2.42 lakh and the Government Order categorically stated that the lease would be extended till August 27, 2023 by increasing the monthly rent at the rate of 15% every three years.

The club accepted the rent determined under the 2007 G.O. and paid ₹2.88 crore towards arrears of rent in 2012. However, in 2018, following a general order passed by the High Court to revise the rent for temple properties, the department asked the club to pay ₹11.51 lakh a month from July 2016.

The 2018 notice was followed by the latest notice issued last month demanding ₹4.77 crore in arrears from July 2016 to November 2021. Such demand was in contravention of the 2007 G.O. and therefore baseless in law, the club claimed and urged the court to quash the notice.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 10:34:46 pm |