Form panels to appoint temple trustees by May, HR&CE directed
CHENNAI: Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department to constitute district-level committees to select and appoint trustees to temples by the end of May.
The court warned that it would summon the secretary and commissioner of the department if the direction is not implemented. A division bench of Justices R Mahadevan and P D Audikesavalu also asked the department to submit a report on the time frame for appointing the trustees through the committees. If the deadline is not met, the court will appoint a retired judge to monitor the appointment process.
Earlier, the department informed the court that committees have been appointed for 23 out of 38 districts in the state and the remaining districts will have committees by May. The court has adjourned the hearing to April 5, taking note of these submissions.
The court had ordered the state government to include a question in the application form for the temple trustees’ posts to ensure that applicants do not have any political affiliations last November. The state government informed the court that it is working to fill vacancies of trustees for 560 temples with an annual income of over Rs 10 lakh.
However, one of the petitioners pointed out that HR&CE did not ask any questions in the application form regarding the applicants’ political affiliations, despite the court’s order. The court has now directed the department to add such questions to know about the political background of the applicants.