The Madras High Court on Wednesday has given an order to the state government, that it cannot use temple lands for any purpose other than holding the religious functions.The court considering the fact that temples in Tamil Nadu are not only a source of ancient culture identification but also a testimony of pride and knowledge of the talent in the fields of arts, science and sculpture gave this order.
The court instructed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department to identify and protect all temple lands from encroachers appointing an officer in charge to file periodical reports. The issue concerned to the encroachment of lands of the Sakthi Muthamman temple near Neelankarai and the Kottai Mariamman temple in Salem. The court announced its orders in the set of pleas filed by lot of petitioners over the encroachment of temple land. Justice R Mahadevan said the properties of religious institutions, particularly temples, have to be maintained properly. The court condemned the HR&CE department for not maintaining the temple properties properly.
Judges ordered the removal of encroachments from temple lands, they also called for the fisheries department that has constructed a building near Neelankarai by entering into an agreement with the HR and CE department for which rent will be collected.