Temple lands: HC orders interim stay on GO

The Madras High Court today ordered interim stay on the State government's order to grant patta to those who live in temple lands for more than five years.

The government order issued on 30 August said that the temple lands will be acquired in an appropriate manner to provide housing pattas for qualified people as per the guidelines of the Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department.

A petition was filed against the GO by one Radhakrishnan with the Madras High Court.

Submitting their argument, the State government said, 'The beneficiaries will be poor families. The encroachments will be removed and only those lands not useful for temples will be given to them. It is not against the sentiments of the devotees or religious sentiments'.

Hearing the arguments, Justice Sathyanatrayanan and Justice Seshasayee wondered whether it would be applicable for one religion or places of worship of other religions too. 

They questioned whether government is compelling HR & CE department to sell temple lands. Without proper details on encroachments of temple lands, it would be impossible to execute the GO.

The Judges ordered interim stay on the GO.