HC warns of freezing salaries of HR and CE officials who fail to retrieve encroached temple lands

The Madras High Court on Thursday gave a strict warning to the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (commissioner) department that it would pass orders against delinquent officers to freeze their salaries for colluding with offenders who encroach temple lands.
HC warns of freezing salaries of HR and CE officials who fail to retrieve encroached temple lands
Madras High Court


The first bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu also directed the HR&CE Commissioner to submit the details of the executive officers who were appointed in the department from the year 2014 along with the details of the encroached temple lands across the State.
“The HR&CE should furnish the details of all the encroached temple lands and the action taken by the department to remove those illegal occupants. The details pertaining to the action taken against the officers who collude with the violators shall also be submitted. 
Also, the details of the temple executive officers since 2014 needs to be furnished before the court,” the bench noted.
The bench observed this on hearing a plea by Xavier Felix. The petitioner sought a direction from the HR&CE department to retrieve several acres of land belonging to Arulmigu Tirusoolanathar Temple of HR&CE in Tirusoolam, Chennai which is being encroached.
On recording the submissions, the bench came down heavily on the HR&CE officials for not taking steps to recover the encroached lands. 
“Why not the salaries of the delinquent officials who are in collusion with the temple land encroachers be kept frozen?” the bench observed.
The ACJ further pointed out that the officers should not merely sit in air-conditioned offices and they should act in the interest of the public.
“Even as the HC had passed a direction to remove all encroachments from HR&CE lands, the officers have not done that. 
We have passed directions to snap the EB connection as well as the water connection for the people who have encroached on the temple lands. But it seems nothing had been done to remove the encroachments from the temple lands,” the bench observed.
The matter has been adjourned by two weeks.

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