The High Court of Madras rebuked the HR&CE Department for failing to protect the temple properties that were encroached by private individuals and the Government for other official purposes.
The counsel for the petitioner had alleged that the Government had taken away the lands belonging to the temple without the consent of the HR&CE Department.
Hon’ble Justice Mahadevan observed that the HR&CE Dept was careless and ordered that the temple lands should be protected and not alienated. He also added that the temples of Tamil Nadu are not only a source of knowing the ancient culture but they are also a matter of pride and knowledge.
Hon’ble Justice of Madras High Court then asked the HR&CE Department to restore the lands back to the temples. He further ordered that the encroachments will have to be removed.
The court also noted that the religious institutions and temple lands have to be maintained properly to yield more income for the beneficial purposes of the temples.
Further, the court ordered:
“The Officer authorised by the Commissioner, HR&CE Dept., shall maintain proper register with respect to the financial aspects of the subject temples and its properties and file the same before the authority concerned in regular intervals. If he/she fails to discharge his/her duties assigned, he/she is personally liable for such lapses and appropriate departmental action be taken against him/her”.