Consider giving one-time free ration to needy priests, servants of ‘C’ category temples: HC

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asked the State government to consider whether one-time free ration can be supplied to the needy archaks and temple servants working in the nearly 35,000 category ‘C’ Muzrai temples controlled by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy, passed the order while hearing a PIL petition filed by Shreehari Kutsa, an advocate, and K.S.N. Dikshit, an archak from Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, in response to the court’s earlier observations, the government told the Bench that the process of releasing the first instalment of ₹12,000 to each “C” category temples out of the annual grant of ₹48,000 per temple has commenced.

Around ₹35 crore has been already released for this purpose and around ₹13 crore of this amount has been paid to several temples and the process of releasing grant to remaining temples are under various stages, the government said in a statement.

However, counsel for the petitioner pointed out that though temples were allowed to open from June 8, the priests have not yet generating income as lockdown norm prohibits sevas and distribution of prasadam in the temples. Majority of the ‘C’ category temples are situated in villages and do not have any major source of income like the category ‘A’ and ‘B’ temples.

“The issue is if the lawyers were given help from the government then the question is why not help the archaks,” the Bench orally observed while asking the government to consider supplying one-time ration to needy archaks in these temples.

Pointing out that grants were given towards daily rituals, maintenance, salaries to archaks, servants, renovations, electricity bills, etc., the petitioner has said archaks and temple servants in these temples are mainly depending on ‘dakshina’ by devotees.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 7:21:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/consider-giving-one-time-free-ration-to-needy-priests-servants-of-c-category-temples-hc/article31908091.ece

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