Temple Lands Shall Not Be Alienated Or Used Against Interests Of Temple: Madras High Court Directs To Retrieve Encroached Temple Properties

first_imgNews UpdatesTemple Lands Shall Not Be Alienated Or Used Against Interests Of Temple: Madras High Court Directs To Retrieve Encroached Temple Properties LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK4 Nov 2020 10:31 PMShare This – xThe Madras High Court has directed the HR & CE Department to initiate appropriate action to retrieve land belonging to temples by removing all encroachments.Justice R. Mahadevan also directed that the the lands belonging to the subject temples shall not be alienated or leased or encumbered illegally and against the interests of such temples and shall only be used for temple…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Madras High Court has directed the HR & CE Department to initiate appropriate action to retrieve land belonging to temples by removing all encroachments.Justice R. Mahadevan also directed that the the lands belonging to the subject temples shall not be alienated or leased or encumbered illegally and against the interests of such temples and shall only be used for temple related purposes.The court also criticised the HR&CE Dept., which is the custodians of the temple properties, for having not taken any steps to protect the interest of the temples. “Such callous attitude on their part cannot be countenanced. This Court, time and again observed that Temples in Tamil Nadu are not only a source of identification of the ancient culture, but also a testimony of pride and knowledge of the talent in the field of arts, science and sculpture and a conduit for spiritual activities as well; and that, the properties of the religious institutions, more particularly, the temples have to be maintained properly in order to derive more income to spend for its betterment.”, Justice Mahadevan observed.The court was considering a batch of writ petitions challenging the transfer of land belonging to various temples to other Departments entirely / partially and also encroachments. Certain Government orders which ordered transfer of the disputed land to the Fisheries Department were challenged.The court held that the temples are entitled to the rights of possession and enjoyment in respect of the respective disputed lands, subject to the control and administration of the HR&CE Dept. and  no trustee / private individual shall claim right over the disputed lands possessed and enjoyed by the temples in any manner whatsoever. The court added that the Government shall not utilise/ alienate / assign / transfer the same and construct permanent structures therein for the purposes other than the beneficial interests of the temple. The following directions have been issued by the Court:(i)The Commissioner, HR&CE Dept., Chennai, shall initiate appropriate action to retrieve the subject lands, remove all the encroachments, if any, and maintain the same with utmost care and for beneficial interests of the subject temples. (ii)It is made clear that the lands belonging to the subject temples shall not be alienated or leased or encumbered illegally and against the interests of such temples. (iii)The HR&CE Dept. shall have the administration and entire control over the subject lands and shall deal with the same in accordance with law. (iv)The HR&CE Dept. shall take steps to start construction by putting compound wall to secure and safety of the subject lands. Except temple related purposes, the lands shall not be used for any other purposes. (v)Except the HR&CE Dept., no other private individuals / trustees shall claim any right over the lands possessed and enjoyed by the subject temples. (vi)The Officer in-charge shall not permit any unauthorised shop / construction inside the temples’ premises. (vii)The Officer in-charge shall ensure the unrestricted freedom of worship by the devotees to the subject temples. (viii)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. (ix)The Commissioner, HR&CE Dept., shall order appropriate enquiry forthwith related to the missing documents and files connected to the respective temples and its properties and initiate action against erring officials responsible for the same. (x)The Government shall provide necessary assistance to the HR&CE Dept., for proper maintenance and protection of the subject temples and its propertiesCase: S.Sridhar vs. State of Tamil Nadu [Writ Petition No.17248 of 2013]Coram: Justice R. MahadevanClick here to Read/Download JudgmentRead JudgmentNext Storylast_img

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