CHENNAI: A division bench of the Madras High Court ordered the state government to include a question to ensure the applicants who apply for the temple trustees posts in the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) temples do not have any political affiliations.
The bench comprising Justice R Mahadevan and Justice PD Audikesavalu passed the direction on hearing a batch of writ petitions filed by several people for a direction to fill the trustees’ positions in the HR&CE temples.
When the matter was taken up by the bench, the government advocate representing the HR&CE department informed the HC that the department has initiated steps to fill the trustees’ posts in temples all over the state. The department further sought 12 months’ time to complete the process.
The state also noted that it is working to fill the vacancies of trustees of 560 temples that have more than Rs 10 lakh as their annual income. “Trustees have been appointed for eight temples so far and the remaining temples will get the trustees at the earliest,” the government advocate noted.
However, one of the petitioners drew the attention of the judges saying that even though the Madras HC had ordered the government that trustees should not have any political connections, the HR&CE did not ask any questions in the application form for the trustees’ post regarding the applicants’ political affiliations.
Recording the submissions, the bench directed the HR&CE to add such questions to know the political background of the applicants for the trustees’ posts.