Madras HC reprimands leasing out temple property for commercial purposes

The Madras High Court reprimanded the act of temple authorities’ who leased out temple properties for purposes unrelated to the objective of worship, which in-turn degraded the heritage value of temples.

The court was hearing a PIL which sought for restoration of daily rituals at Adhikesavan Temple, at par with Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Trivendrum. The petitioner mentioned that earlier, he had sent a representation to the concerned temple authorities’, however, no action had been taken.

The counsel on behalf of petitioner argued that the residents of locality hold the deity with utmost reverence and respect, and as a result, they were disheartened to see the temple not being maintained properly and rituals not being performed as per the scriptures.

The court condemned the irresponsible behavior of temple authorities’ and observed that they were unmindful of heritage value of temples and had licensed/leased out temple property, including pragarams and verandahs, to the traders to carry out trading activity.

Further, the court observed that traders sold articles which were unrelated and unconnected with the temple and the devotees who visited temple as worshippers. The court addressed the shops as shopping centres.

The court referred to the fire accident which took place at the Meenakshi Amman temple, Madurai, back in 2018, and stated that despite such instances, the authorities were yet to mend their ways.

The court further added that it was not only the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department to be blamed, but several other persons for causing such unfortunate state of affairs.

However, the court did not allow petitioner’s prayer as concerned authorities’ had their reasons, including insufficient funds and staff. Moreover, the relief sought by petitioner was a civil right, for performing rituals by a particular sect, and the same could not allowed by way of writ petition.

Instead, the court directed the petitioner to approach appropriate forum for seeking remedy.

Dayakar Arra – Advocate | Call: 8790587665

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