Madras High Court threatens to scrap Tamil Nadu Govt. control over Hindu Temples

Press Trust of India | Chennai Dec 21, 2016 10:57 PM IST

The Madras High Court today observed that it found the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department’s stand prima facie “subversive” of its directions and directed the HR&CE Commissioner to be present in court tomorrow. 
The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar, said, “We have perused the affidavit filed by the HR&CE department and the exchange of correspondence with UNESCO. We find prima facie the stand of HR&CE department subversive of our directions and seek to prevent any meaningful role for the UNESCO.”

“The communication of the Commissioner of HR&CE department seeks to raise a bogey of possible religious backlash and on behalf of the petitioners it is pointed out that even the Commissioner or his nominee is in a position to enter the Sanctum Sanctorum or Pooja Gruha as per section 24 of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959…

“The Commissioner HR&CE department to remain personally present in Court tomorrow,” the court said.

At one stage, the court orally observed that the department may be closed and the act abrogated.

It was hearing a suo motu PIL and batch of petitions seeking relief from a court order asking the department to go slow on renovation of temples till a committee of experts were appointed.

The First Bench had directed the HR& CE departmentto proceed in terms of the suggestions of UNESCO in connection with the renovation of temples or heritage structures in Tamil Nadu.The HR&CE department had earlier informed the bench that it had formed an expert committee to go into renovation of temples and given the names of such experts on November 7, 2016.