In a big blow to the Tamil Nadu Government, the Madras High Court on Friday stayed the implementation of para two of the Government Order issued by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department which offers regularisation benefit for encroachers of temple lands by issuing the assignment patta after acquiring the encroached land for a price.
“Any attempt to regularise encroachers and sanctify encroachment is more likely to denude the temples of their properties. Hence, any act that involves loss of properties of the temple for purposes other than those intended for the benefit or necessity of the temple, may well contravene the spirit behind Sec 34 (restricts the sale, exchange or mortgage of any immovable property belonging to religious institutions) of the HR&CE Act,” the bench said.
“This apart, even if Para 2(v) of the impugned G.O. is considered on its face value, it shall not be used till a biometric evaluation of the encroachers of all the temple lands across the State, are undertaken and completed. Thus, a prima facie case is made out for grant of interim orders,” Justice N Seshasayee who penned the interim order said. The petitioners had submitted that the present endeavour adds insult to injury when the government wants to regularise the encroachments and thereby condone the abject neglect of these authorities in performing their duty in preserving the lands belonging to temples.