Posted by : Shoumik Das Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dissolution of Muzrai temple committees quashed

The Congress government suffered a setback on Wednesday with the Karnataka High Court quashing the notifications dissolving the managing committees of nine Muzrai temples, appointments to which were made by the Bharatiya Janata Party government.
Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh quashed the notifications issued on August 14, 2013, while declaring that they were issued in violation of the provisions of Section 28 of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act, 1997.
The order applies to the committees of Anjaneyaswamy tempe, Doddabanaswadi, Bangalore; Mahishamardhini temple, Kadiyali in Udupi, Anantha Padmanabha temple, Perdur in Udupi district, and six others.
The appointments to the managing committees were made by the State Dharmika Parishath last year. The decision to dissolve the managing committees of 41 “A” grade temples under the state Muzrai department was taken by the State Dharmika Parishath, headed by the present Muzrai Minister, at a meeting on July 31.

Statutory body

Members of dissolved managing committees argued that the Parishath being a statutory body, could not exercise its powers arbitrarily as the appointment of managing committees was not done at the pleasure of the government and hence a change in government could not empower the Parishath to dissolve them.

Contention

The petitioners contended that Section 28 of the Act prescribes the reasons — failing to discharge duties or perform as per the law; disobeying the orders issued under the Act and rules; and on committal of any malfeasance or misfeasance or is guilty of breach of trust or misappropriation — for dissolving committees. Even on such reasons the committees could be dissolved only after holding proper inquiry, and in the pendency of such inquiry the committees could be kept under suspension.
It was pointed out that as government did not invoke any of the reasons cited in the Act the decision was arbitrary. The court upheld the contentions.

Notice

The court ordered issue of notice to the government on a public interest litigation petition questioning the appointment of Mohammed Saleem as the Managing Director of the Karnataka State Minorities Development Corporation.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarthna passed the order on a petition filed by H.A. Mohammed Rafeeq and others. The petitioners complained that Mr. Saleem committed serious omissions and commissions as a government servant. Though the government had twice withdrawn him from this post earlier, he was again appointed to the same post for the third time.
Source : The Hindu

‘Dissolving temple committees is political interference’

Kadri Manjunatha Temple in Mangalore among those whose managing committees have been dissolved
Kadri Manjunatha Temple in Mangalore among those whose managing committees have been dissolved
The government’s decision to dissolve committees of many of the well-known temples in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi has come as a shock to many of its members, who see the move smacking of political high-handedness.
Some called it political interference in temple matters.
Of the 41 managing committees of A grade temples dissolved, 20 are in the two districts, home to State’s richest temples.
Anantha Aithal, who was president of Nandaneshwara Temple, Panambur, said the decision was shocking. “When there are rules on how we should function, why the same does not apply to the government. No reason has been given for dissolving the committee.” Temple managing committees should not be another political appointment, he said.
“It is unfortunate that the government has not allowed these committees to function for full three-year term. There were questions over some of those appointed in the committees by the earlier government. But it should have been allowed to complete the term as laid under the Act (Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997),” said Harikrishna Punaroor, a former member of managing committee in Kukke Subramanya Temple, which was spared of the dissolution.
Mr. Punaroor is also among the petitioners before the High Court questioning appointment of members to managing committees of some A grade temples. District officials said no action had been taken against nine A grade temples where there are hereditary trustees. Similarly, nothing has been done with regard to managing committees of Kukke Subramanya, Puttur Mahalingeshwara Temple and temples in Uppinangady and Katipalla as cases are pending before the High Court.
Many lesser known temples in the district are also expecting the government to dissolve their committees.
“Dissolving this committee does not prevent me from being involved in the temple’s activities,” said Pradeep Kumar Kalkura, who was member of the managing committee of Kadri Manjunatha Temple. Echoing the same sentiment was Krishna Bhat, president of Soutadka Mahaganapati Temple committee.
Source: The Hindu

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