After the fire accident in Veera Vasantharayar Mandapam in Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, demands have arisen to hand over the Temple Administration to the Hindu community. In reply, Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. O.Panneerselvam, who came to see the fire damages, said “just for one incident, temple administration cannot be handed over to a private party”.
“If the fire accident is found to be due to the presence of shops, then action will be taken to change the same” he replied casually dismissing it as an ordinary incident. Is it only one incident or have they forgotten how floods had literally destroyed Sundareswarar Praharam: who is the Government to hand over the Administration to private people?
Does Mr. Paneerselvam know that it is illegal for the Govt., to manage Meenakshi Amman Temple? To know this let us go back in the history.
Justice Party’s contribution
During the period 1920 – 1937, for nearly 13 years, Justice Party was ruling the State of Madras, in coalition with the British Government. At that time, in the year 1927, the Justice Party, in line with its principles, passed the bill to constitute the Hindu Religious Board. Through that slowly they brought all temples under their control. After this Board was formed only, shops and Hundis started entering the temples.
Temple tanks were let on lease for fishing. Temple lands became a question mark. That is, to benefit a few individuals, temples were changed.
For temples like Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar Temple, Srivilliputhur Andal temple and Kumbakonam Kumbeswarar Temple to become like a market place, this law was the beginning.
Source: Nilesh Nilkath Oak Facebook Post
The Constitution of India was proclaimed in the year 1950. In that all religious rights were accorded to all the communities without any difference. Religious rights include administration of their places of worship also. As per the Constitution, the then Madras State Govt., headed by P.S.Kumarasamy Raja should have handed over all temples back to Hindu community. Instead of doing that, the then Government, in a hurry, enacted a law in 1951, constituting the present HR&CE department.
Till that law was enacted, temples were brought under their control through individual GOs. But the new law proclaimed that “All temples will be deemed to have been taken over by the Govt.”.
‘Government has no rights’
The then Head of Dharmapuri Aadheenam continuously fought in various courts against this law which is against the rights of Hindu community. In one of those cases, the Supreme Court gave its judgement on February 10, 1965. As per that order, the control of the Government over 45 temples including Madurai, Srirangam, Tiruvannamalai, Srivilliputhur, Tiruvarur, Mannargudi, Tiruchendur, Palani etc., was cancelled.
It is really surprising that till this day this remained a secret unknown to Tamil people, Hindu groups and Tamil lawyers.
Even after the Supreme Court verdict, the Government did not hand over these temple back to those from whom they took over. To avoid that, in July 1965, the Government introduced new illegal sections called 75A, 75B and & 75C in the above Act.
In a Judgement in a different case, the Madras High Court has declared these sections as void as they were introduced specifically to avoid implementing the SC order. These new sections extended the validity of the Govt., control over these 45 temples up to July 15, 1966 only. Even as per that, the Govt., should have exited those temple on July 16, 1966; they have not done that.
In effect, the TN Govt., have not only disobeyed the SC order but they have not followed even their own Act and have retained the control over these 45 temples. If today we have lost the invaluable heritage and beauty of Veera Vasantharayar Mandapam, it is only because:
• The Executive Officer Continuing to work even though the post has been invalidated 52 years ago;
• The people in the temporary post of Thakkar, which is valid only for 3 months at any time, continuing in that post eternally;
• As per Agamaas and laws, shops cannot be inside the temple. But those in power are continuing their atrocities in allowing all these, ridiculing the TN Govt., law and Judiciary.
The Contribution of Devotees
The people, who come in large numbers to have darshan of Meenakshi Amman in Madurai, spend lot of money on flowers and puja materials. Instead, if they use that money to file a case against Tamilnadu Govt., and liberate the Temple from their clutches, it will be an immense service and prayer.
T.R. Ramesh, President, Temple Devotees Association
Source: Nilesh Nilkath Oak Facebook Post