‘MLAs, public gave consent to build old age homes in temples' funds’

Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram made this submission before a division bench of Justice D Krishnakumar and Justice TV Thamilsevi. The bench was hearing a petition filed by TR Ramesh. The petitioner prayed for a direction to quash a GO issued by the HR and CE department on January 12 to build old age homes in Chennai, Tirunelveli, and Palani with funds from the temples.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Government on Friday informed the Madras High Court that the decision of constructing the old age homes with the assistance of temples' funds was taken only after getting the consent of the local MLAs and the people.

Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram made this submission before a division bench of Justice D Krishnakumar and Justice TV Thamilsevi. The bench was hearing a petition filed by TR Ramesh. The petitioner prayed for a direction to quash a GO issued by the HR and CE department on January 12 to build old age homes in Chennai, Tirunelveli, and Palani with funds from the temples.

According to the petitioner, the GO is illegal to use temple funds and for this purpose the consent of trustees is essential.

“For this purpose, Rs 16.30 crore from Sridevi Paliamman temple in Villivakkam, Rs 13.50 crore from Nellaiappar temple, Rs 15.20 crore from Dhandayudhapani temple will be taken. However, Palani Dhandayuthapani temple only has the trustee,” the petitioner submitted.

However, the AG informed the HC that several temples are functioning without trustees for various reasons. The government also informed that fit-persons of temples called thakkars are discharging the duties of the trustees.

“The government has the plan to use the surplus funds to build old-age homes with the consent of respective MLAs and the public. The state will also grant funds to temples. About Rs.130 crores was released for the Oru Kala Poojai scheme,” the AG submitted.

Recording the submissions, the bench directed the petitioner to array the trustees of Palani temple as the respondents and to give a representation to the Acting CJ to hear this plea along with similar other cases opposing the establishment of colleges using temple funds and melting temple gold jewels.

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