CHENNAI: The Madras High Court said economic progress of the State should not be made at the expense of properties of God and the government should take ‘conscious decision’ on matters relating to exploitation of temple land for the interest of third parties.
The observation was made by Justice R Suresh Kumar while disposing of a petition filed by a private housing promoter seeking extension of lease of 22 cents belonging to a temple under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department. The parcel of land is located at a strategic point connecting the East Coast Road in Tirupporur near Chennai. He reminded the government of an order issued by a Division Bench of the Madras High Court on how temple properties should be protected.
Justice Suresh Kumar, in his order, said the impugned order of the commissioner of the HR&CE department allowing lease of 400 sqft to the petitioner need not be given further effect. Instead the petitioner can approach the State government seeking lease of a small portion of the land belonging to the temple. The government can decide on the matter by considering the views and objections of the temple concerned.
The case relates to the extension of lease of 22 cents that forms the approach road to a housing colony, promoted by Mermaid Properties Private Limited, at Thiruvidanthai village. The land belonged to Arulmigu Nithya Kalyana Perumal temple. Although it was given for lease initially, the temple administration objected to it later sensing the intention of the company to use the said land for a long time.
The HR&CE commissioner, however, issued an order allowing lease of 400 sqft The court now ordered the department not to give effect to the order.
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