Lawfully yours: By Retd Justice K Chandru
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Act to govern temples precedes Dravidian parties’ rule in State
The DMK-led rationalist government in Tamil Nadu is determined to keep Ayodhya Mandapam in Chennai under its control through the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department while the right-wing organisations, led by the BJP, are all out to politicise the issue for reasons best known to them. Waging a battle with Sangh outfits, ignoring the Dravidian major AIADMK, may suit the DMK agenda. But a fight between ‘rationalists’ and ‘believers’ does not augur well for the State. Is there no law to bar political parties from milking religious issues for their gains? Can’t the court, which has refused to intervene in the HR&CE decision to bring Mandapam under its fold, also order that the issue should not be dragged to the streets?
— Keerthi Iyer, Tambaram
There is a concerted campaign by certain groups, starting from Jaggi to BJP, to hand over the Hindu temples to the devotees. It is easier said than done. After the British ceased to administer these temples, it was handed over to some local groups for management. Experience showed that there was maladministration that led to the enactment of the Temple Administration Act long before the Dravidian parties came to power. The Act was challenged before the Supreme Court unsuccessfully. Now the BJP and its allies are making it a political issue. Their state president’s public interest litigation before the Madras High Court in this regard was dismissed last year. Even the Ayodhya Mandapam issue is before the court. Still, some vested interests want to make such issues political rather than wait for a legal solution.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here are of Justice K Chandru, who is providing guidance and direction based on his rich experience and knowledge of the law. This is not a substitute for legal recourse which must be taken as a follow-up if so recommended in these columns