Don’t melt temple gold till trustees are appointed: Madras HC

Chennai: The Madras High Court today restrained the Tamilnadu government from melting ‘unused’ gold jewellery donated to temples for monetisation till trustees are appointed to the relevant temples.

A Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu clarified that the task of completing the inventory of temple offerings can continue under the aegis of the Committee constituted by the State government which comprises of retired Judges.

The court said, ‘but no decision to melt the jewellery or dispose of any valuable which forms part of offerings at relevant temples should be taken without the trustees thereat being installed pursuant to advertisements issued.’

The Commissioner of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department cannot suo motu decide on melting of temple gold without the recommendations of the trustees as per the HR and CE Act, the bench said.

The interim order was passed on petitions moved by M Saravanan and A V Gopala Krishnan challenging the decision to melt gold jewellery and deposit them in banks.

Meanwhile, an online petition on Change.org against the Tamilnadu government’s move is gaining further attention. The petition titled ‘Tamil Nadu CM: Don’t Melt Temple Gold:# Temple Jewels, not government property’ claims that those hasty decisions on the government’s end are violating the orders of the Madras High Court.

 

NT Bureau