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Appointment of trustees for 1,045 temples will be completed in six months, T.N. tells Supreme Court

It denies allegations that 105 temples in the State were destroyed

January 23, 2023 08:46 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:13 am IST - NEW DELHI

The State is home to 38,658 temples which are under the control of HR&CE Department, the government tells Supreme Court.

The State is home to 38,658 temples which are under the control of HR&CE Department, the government tells Supreme Court.

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the process of appointment of the trustees in 1,045 temples will be completed in six months and denied allegations that 105 temples in the State were destroyed.

The government, represented by advocate D. Kumanan, told the Supreme Court that the State is home to 38,658 temples which are under the control of its Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department.

Not all of these temples owned “lakhs of acres of lands and thousands of buildings and crores and crores of rupees, valued gold and diamond ornaments” as believed by the petitioner, Hindu Dharma Parishad. In fact, the annual income of 33,956 of these temples was below ₹10,000. Only 578 temples had an annual income of ₹10 lakh. But the government said this had not stopped periodic renovation work and kumbabishegam “where ever necessary”.

The government denied allegations that persons belonging to “ruling political parties are being appointed as trustees” in temples. “The applications received for appointment of trustees are duly scrutinised and antecedents are verified… Only qualified persons are considered for appointment as trustees,” a 46-page affidavit filed by the Commissioner, HR&CE Department, said.

The State, however, said it was “practically not possible to appoint a Trust Board for each and every temple consisting of a retired judge”.

The government disagreed with the petitioner’s argument that Tamil Nadu temples should have committees for their administration in the lines of Sri Padmanabaswamy temple in Kerala.

“Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram is administered by a single trust board. In Tamil Nadu, there are 38,658 temples, which are administered by individual and separate trust boards. So, the principle applicable to Sri Padmanabaswamy temple cannot be applied to the temples in Tamil Nadu,” the State government said.

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