Chennai, Mar 3 (PTI): The Madras High Court today directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department to take steps to restore possession of 14.31 acres of land donated to a temple in Coimbatore, for the purpose of setting up a flower garden, and grant patta to the same.

Passing the order on a PIL by International Sri Vaishana Dharma Samrakshana Society, the first bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice R Mahadevan directed the HR and CE authorities to take steps within a period of three months.

The petitioner submitted that the land was donated by one Chinnanna Naidu to Sri Kari Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Peelamedu Sowripalayam Village in Coimbatore district, for setting up a Nandavana Pushpa Kaingariyam (flower garden).

While so, the PSG Charitable trust had changed the Thiru Kovil land patta illegally without verifying the encumbrance certificates and other revenue records.

In addition, the trust had also sold the lands to 35 others from 1996 to 2011.

When the matter was brought to the notice of the revenue authorities an enquiry was conducted and the Tahsildar and the Trust conceded that a grave mistake was committed.

A letter of apology and an undertaking was given in writing and presented before the DRO wherein all the trustees of the PSG trust expressed willingness to surrender the land back to Sri Kari Varadharaja Perumal Temple.

As no transfer took place, a representation was made by the petitioner on August 25, 2014 to the District Collector, who had asked the DRO(HR&CE) to take steps to re transfer the land to the temple.

However, the trust had not come forward to re-transfer the same, following which the petitioner approached the Home Secretary, who in turn directed that an FIR be filed against the trust.

The petitioner further submitted that the trust now said that they were unable to identify the lands.

He then prayed for a direction from the Court to restore the possession of the land and grant patta to the lands in the name of the temple.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.