Tamil Nadu

District-level committees to appoint temple trustees will be set up in four weeks, TN Govt tells HC

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department on Wednesday informed the Madras High Court that it has issued advertisements for appointing district level committee members, who in turn would appoint trustees for all temples which are now being administered by Fit Persons as an interim arrangement.

Appearing before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu, Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram said the exercise of appointing district level committee members would be completed within four weeks since there were numerous complaints of temples being run without trustees.

The submission was made during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by T.R. Ramesh, president of Indic Collective Trust and Temple Worshippers Society. He had taken exception to appointment of HR&CE department employees as Fit Persons in temples through deputation on “foreign service.”

He claimed that such deputation was in violation of the provisions of the Tamil Nadu HR&CE Act of 1959 and also the Fundamental Rules of the Government of Tamil Nadu. He contended that paying salaries of such officials on deputation from temple funds was impermissible, illegal and amounts to misuse of the funds.

Though the litigant had also insisted upon issuing an interim injunction restraining the HR&CE Commissioner from deputing personnel from the department on “foreign service” until the disposal of the PIL petition, the judges said such an interim order might end up to be counter productive and leave the temples without an administrator.

Pointing out that complaints already galore regarding movable properties of temples having been missing and immovable properties having been encroached upon, the judges said such complaints might increase if the interim injunction ends up leaving the temples without anyone to care for its properties.

Therefore, they ordered notices, returnable by six weeks, to the State government and the HR&CE Commissioner on the PIL petition and recorded the A-G’s submission that district level committees, for appointment of trustees, would be in place in our weeks so that the general complaint of absence of trustees could be addressed.

When Mr. Ramesh pointed out that some of the advertisements issued were defective and that they do not mention the qualifications, the judges asked the A-G to ensure that appropriate corrigendum was issued to correct the mistakes, if any.

The Chief Justice asked the HR&CE department to be vigilant and not end up forcing people to challenge the appointments too on the ground of the defects in the advertisements.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 10:12:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/district-level-committees-to-appoint-temple-trustees-will-be-set-up-in-four-weeks-tn-govt-tells-hc/article37189260.ece

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