Pointing out that what is known about the gross misuse of temple properties and funds is only a tip of the iceberg, a division bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice R Hemalatha held that the rot has been going on for the past seven decades and after the advent of the HR&CE Act, the loot had merely moved from the panchayat to the officials.
Citing instances of residential areas like Arunachala Nagar near Adayar coming up on encroached temple properties, the bench wondered as to why the HR&CE is unable to enumerate the properties of even listed temples.
Another PIL has been filed by Rangarajan Narasimhan of Srirangam against a Government Order to collect Rs 10 crore of surplus funds from 20 rich temples and use it to renovate 10,000 village temples. However, to submissions from the counsels about numerous instances where temples funds have been used to buy Innova car for collecting donations on behalf of the temples, the bench held that the actions of HR&CE reveal they are deliberately inept. The court also wondered whether HR&CE will be able to file an affidavit on the issues without being held for perjury.