CHENNAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has directed the district judges in the State to submit reports about the prevailing condition of the temples coming under the HR&CE department in their respective jurisdiction, as per the earlier directions of the Supreme Court.
A division bench of Justices M V Muralidharan and T Krishnavalli gave the direction while passing further interim orders on a PIL petition from R S Kalyanaraman of Rajapalayam, on July 27 last.
The PIL prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to introduce bio-metric device to mark and record the entry of the authorised staff into the sanctum sanctorum alone and consequently streamline the administration of Sri Subramaniya Swamy Temple in Tiruchendur by forming a committee of HR&CE officials and the Thoothukudi Collector.
The bench passed an elaborate order giving various directions to the HR&CE and temple authorities on June 1 last. When the matter came up on Monday for compliance, the bench noted that several directions had not been complied with. Only biometric system has been introduced. But the other directions are not implemented, the bench said and issued a few more directions to be complied with.
The district judges should file reports on the availability of toilet facilities with good sanitation, drinking water, the hygienic atmosphere around the temple premises, maintenance of temple structure as such, security arrangements, illegal collection of money for
darshan, adequate staff for the administration and management of the temple and also for doing poojas to the deity, treating the devotees without any discrimination, proper ventilation inside the temple premises, installation of CCTV cameras, issuing identity cards to the staff, strictly banning usage of plastics, proper accounts for the income and expenditure of the temple and proper auditing, parking facilities and signboards in Tamil and English indicating the direction to reach the temple and worshipping place for the devotees.
In addition, the judges said that temple authorities should keep in mind that they should be pioneers in protecting and preserving the clean and potential environment in and around the temple premises by planting a number of various kinds of trees.
The district judges shall find out the feasibility of providing separate queue for the senior citizens and children below six years to enable them to worship the deity conveniently. They shall submit an interim report before this court on or before September 30 in this regard, the bench added and posted the matter for further hearing on October 1.
Coming to the case on hand, the judges said that the Commissioner, HR&CE shall approve the request dated July 20 of the Joint Commissioner/EO of the temple for granting licence and pursuant to that, issue ID cards to the legally eligible 'Trisuthanthirars' and
'Kaingariasthars' for the temple, within two weeks. Immediately on receipt of such approval order from the Commissioner, the JC/EO shall issue the licence and the ID cards to the legally eligible persons and complete the proceedings within two months. The two
officials shall see to it that only legally appointed archakas are performing poojas in all sannadhis, including the parivar sannathis.
This direction shall be given immediate effect and if anybody to be appointed for this purpose, the process of appointment shall be completed within three months. Outsiders, except archakas, licensees and the devotees shall not be permitted to assemble within the temple premises including Shanmugavilasam. The legally appointed temple servants and the licensees alone shall be given the ID cards to avoid the intrusion of unauthorised persons. The two officials shall explore the possibilities of introducing new measures and to introduce the same in the temple for the welfare of the devotees and for the smooth and devotee-friendly functioning of the administration.
The Joint Commissioner/Executive Officer of the temple shall restrain any kind of parihara poojas, homams like sathru samhara homam for devotees, performed by the Trisuthanthirars unofficially, inside the temple, by collecting money from the devotees, except the poojas performed by the devasthanam, namely, dhina homam and other homams during the special occasions like Shasti, annual festival etc.
The officials shall provide temporary roof over the giri praharam to protect the devotees from sunlight and rain within three months till the permanent structure is erected. They shall also provide adequate, spacious and ventilated queue system for the devotees, by replacing the present congested system.
Immediate arrangements shall be made for free air-flow and ventilation inside the temple through the available ventilator on the top of the temple, after getting prior approval from the Heritage Committee appointed by this court.The officials shall provide an uninterrupted drinking water supply in and around the temple. The district administration has to provide adequate drinking water supply. The bench also directed the District Collector and the SP to extend their fullest cooperation by allotting appropriate subordinate officers to the temple officials for the smooth functioning of the temple, while implementing the orders of this court as and when required without any delay.