TAMIL NADU

Temple trustee case: petition dismissed

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation petition against the appointment of a Special Tahsildar (Civil Supplies), S. Rajaram, as one of the trustees of the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here.

Though the petition was filed based on a 1983 Government Order, which barred its employees from holding such positions, a Division Bench comprising Justice Dharma Rao Elipe and Justice P.P.S. Janarthana Raja said, "We cannot see any provisions contemplated in the GO as against the appointment of the second respondent (Tahsildar)."

Besides the departmental enquiry initiated against the Tahsildar in 2006, by the then District Collector, was dropped on February 2.

Section 26(1) (f) of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act stipulated that only suspended or dismissed government servants were not entitled to be appointed as trustees, the Judges said. Stating that the allegations levelled against the Tahsildar did not call for any interference from the court, the Bench said the petitioner, being an accused in a few criminal cases, was not a fit person to invoke the PIL jurisdiction.

The petitioner, A.R. Aiyankalai, president of `panchami' land recovery committee, had alleged that the departmental proceedings were initiated against the Tahsildar for swindling a few lakhs of rupees by undervaluing panchami lands and selling them to private parties.