High Court raps HR and CE department for failing to protect temple land2 min read


The Madras High Court criticized the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department for having failed to protect temple properties which had been both encroached by non- public people or utilized by authorities for different official functions. The petitioner held that the federal government had taken away the temple land without the HR&CE department’s consent. The Supreme Court in A.A GopalaKrishnan Vs. Cochin Devaswom Board 2007 had impressed upon the necessity for the federal government, members or trustees of boards and devotees to be vigilant and stop encroachment of properties belonging to spiritual establishments. The properties of the religious institutions have to be maintained properly. In the present case, the HR&CE department failed to protect the land of the Kottai Mariamman temple in Salem district. The HR&CE department has failed to take any steps to protect the interest of the temples. It is the duty of the court to protect and safeguard the properties of religious and charitable institution. The judges reiterated that except temple related purpose, the lands should not be used for any other purposes. The land should not be alienated or leased illegally and against the interest of temples. The apex courtroom had additionally noticed that courts had been responsible to certain extent to protect and safeguard the properties of non-secular and charitable establishments. The court directed the HR&CE department to take control of the land in question and take steps to put a compound way to secure them.
Encroachment of temple land is not new, in 2018 there were reports that 9000 acres of temple land have been encroached illegally by various people. Now the state government has started an initiative to have a digital land records of the temple. Under the control of the Hindu religious and Charitable Endowments department across Tamil Nadu. In this report it was found that at least 25, 868 acers of land worth around Rs. 10,000 crores belonging to various temples is under encroachment. In July this year it was reported that about 70% of the land belonging to temples have been encroached. Its high time to action against this and protect the charitable and temple land.

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