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TN government to constitute district-level committees to appoint temple trustees in four weeks

Chennai, Oct 27 (BPNS)

The Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, R. Shanmugasundharam told the Madras High court that the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department would constitute district-level committees to appoint trustees in temples under it in a span of four weeks.

The AG informed the court that the HR&CE department has already issued advertisements for appointing district-level committee members who in turn would appoint trustees for temples under the department.

The department also informed the court that Fit persons are managing the affairs of the temples at present as an interim arrangement.

AG told the first bench of the Madras High court represented by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Adikesavalu that the HR&CE department would constitute the district-level committees in four weeks as there were several complaints of temples being run without trustees.

The state government was responding to a petition filed by T.R. Ramesh, President of Indic Collective Trust and Temple Worshippers Society.  In the petition, Ramesh has said that HR&CE department had appointed its staff members as Fit persons in temples through deputation on foreign service.

The petitioner said that this deputation was in violation of the Tamil Nadu HR&CE Act of 1959 as also the Fundamental Rules of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

He also said that paying salaries of HR&CE officials on deputation from the temple funds was illegal and impermissible and was directly misuse of temple funds. Ramesh also requested an interim injunction from HR&CE department deputing its personal to the temples as Fit persons. The first bench of the Madras High court however rejected this stating that this would turn counterproductive and temples may be left without any administrator.

The court also directed the AG to look into the defects in advertisements pointed out by the litigant that it did not mention the educational qualifications of the candidates. The court asked the AG to issue an appropriate corrigendum to correct the mistakes if any.