The Madras High Court Madurai division bench of Justice K K Sasidharan and Justice P D Audikesavalu on Friday, while dealing with a plea seeking to abolish the post of Thakkar's/executive officers in Tamil Nadu temples under the Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HR&CE) department and pleading for the constitution of a board of trustees to manage temples in its place, the Bench directed the HR&CE department to file a reply in response to the petition by March 4.
S M A Gandhimathi Nathan of Tuticorin, a former member of vigilance committee of the National Green Tribunal, had filed a Public Interest Litigation in November, last year seeking to do away with the monopoly existing in executive officers post and the abuse of powers by these officers.
The petitioner has instead pleaded for appointment of a Board of trustees comprising of a woman and a member from the SC/ST community to manage temples as stated under Section 47 (i) of the HR&CE Act, which provides that every board of trustee constituted shall consist of not less than three and not more than five people, of whom one shall be a member of the scheduled castes or scheduled tribes and another shall be a woman.
Highlighting the recent incidents in temples including the idol theft cases, petitioner contended that the appointment of a Board of trustees could be an answer to all these problems and a way to ensure better protection and administration of these holy places.
Citing the example of the Tiruchendur Murugan temple where a Chennai-based businessman has been appointed the Thakkar, the petitioner stated, “These posts are given to respectable people in the society, but they are given without any concern on temple administration and protection of the temple”.