The Madras High Court has decided to constitute an expert committee to look into the applications from various temples across the State seeking permission to carry out “essential works” for the maintenance of the temples, since the court has temporarily restrained the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) from carrying out renovation works.

The First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan conveyed its decision while hearing a suo motu PIL proceeding initiated based on media reports highlighting improper works being undertaken by State government, resulting in damage to heritage structures.

On November 30, 2015, the court directed the HR&CE to go slow on renovations till a proper path is laid out and not to destroy heritage structures in the meanwhile.

Following the direction, around 13 temples including Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, Srirangam had moved the court to permit them to carry out essential works in the temples.

When the pleas came up for hearing on Friday, the Bench said, “…The departmental representatives will act as the Secretary of the Committee for facilitating its working and for furnishing records.”

The committee should comprise a structural engineering expert, archaeological expert, conservation expert, traditional stapathy, and two agama experts, the Bench added and said, “It is further agreed that any suggestion as to names be made to the Court Master by today (Friday) and the committee will be appointed on November 7 at 2.15 pm.”

‘Many temples including Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam had sought court’s nod for renovation’.