Axe hereditary temple trustee posts: Activists to Tamil Nadu HR&CE department

Alleging that hereditary trustees hampered effective administration of temples, activists have urged the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department to abolish the posts.

Published: 08th July 2022 02:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2022 02:34 AM   |  A+A-

temple, gopuram

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Express News Service

TIRUPPUR: Alleging that hereditary trustees hampered effective administration of temples, activists have urged the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department to abolish the posts. According to HR&CE department, there are more than 70 temples in western Tamil Nadu, which comprises Coimbatore, Tiruppur, and Erode districts. Most of the temples have hereditary trustees.

The department recently placed under suspension hereditary trustees of Kandiyankoil Temple, Chellandiyamman Temple (Thanthoni Village, Udumalaipet), Pattathuarasi Amman Temple (Udumalaipet), and Kinathadi Vinayagar Temple (Udumalaipet town) for allegedly trying to sell temple lands.

Citing this, A Eswaran, an activist, said, "Hereditary trustees in all temples in Tiruppur are influential and highly connected persons and don't care about the administration or encroachment. The lands around the 200-year-old Visveswara Swamy Temple was encroached by private individuals for more than 100 years. At one point, there were more than 150 shops and houses in the around the temple."

"The encroachers were directly or indirectly supported by the hereditary trustees. The temple administration didn't take action in this issue, and activists filed a civil suit in the court, which dragged on for more than 40 years. Former Tiruppur City Council President K Selvaraj demolished these shops when he came to power in early 2000s," he said.

All India Lawyers Association (Tiruppur) secretary S Ponram said, "The hereditary trustee position was created by the HR&CE department to ensure administration of temples, but over a period of time, the position was abused. Some temples in Tiruppur faced a lot of problems from them and hence, the position of hereditary trustees should be removed."

Speaking to The New Indian Express, an official from HR&CE department said, "We have launched inquiries on these issues. We need to amend the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act XXII of 1959 and remove Section 63B if we want to remove the post of hereditary trustees. But, for doing so, the approval of higher officials from HR&CE deparment is needed and a new act needs to be passed in the State Assembly."



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