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Sabanayagar Temple: HR&CE to go ahead with inspection plan  – Mrit News

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Commissioner directs Podhu Dikshithars to cooperate, says no question of recalling order 

Commissioner directs Podhu Dikshithars to cooperate, says no question of recalling order 

The Tamil Nadu government has maintained that the Sri Sabanayagar Temple, Chidambaram, is a public temple and the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department was competent to form a committee to enquire into its administration. The committee would go ahead with its planned inspection of the temple records on June 7/8.

HR&CE Commissioner R. Kannan wrote to Secretary, Podhu Dikshithars, that the proceedings issued by the department neither violated the rights conferred by the Supreme Court nor restrained them from the administration of the temple. As Sri Sabanayagar Temple was declared as a public temple in various judgments, the Commissioner was competent to form a committee to inspect the records of administration

Besides the order authorising a committee to verify the accounts of the temple on June 7/8, Mr. Kannan referred to a G.O. (Ms) No 115 of May 17, 2022, which permits devotees to have darshan from the Kanagasabhai Mandapam and said the question of recalling the proceedings and G.O does not arise as they were issued under the provisions of HR&CE Act, 1959.

Inspection of records

On May 26, 2022, the HR&CE authorities wrote to the Secretary, Podhu Dikshithars, that acting on petitions received regarding the administration of the temple, a committee had been formed to verify records since 2014 relating to income/expenses, audit reports, valuation of assets and jewels belonging to the temple.

The Secretary, Podhu Dikshithars, objected to this move claiming that the Sri Sabanayagar Temple was not a public temple. Dismissing allegations made against the temple administration, he described the move of the HR&CE Department as a “State-sponsored oppression on the micro ethnic community of 1,500 people, doing their religious duties.”

Responding to the protest, Mr. Kannan said the ruling of the Supreme Court as regards the status of Podhu Dikshithars was neither disputed not denied by the department. While it was accepted that the Podhu Dikshithars community was a religious denomination and entitled to participate in the administration of the temple, it had to be noted that the Supreme Court had not declared the temple as a denominational temple established and maintained for the benefit of Podhu Dikshithars. Moreover, the jurisdiction of the HR&CE Department over the Sri Sabanayagar Temple was not restricted by the Supreme Court, he said.

The HR&CE Commissioner said the Sri Sabanayagar Temple was a public temple established by the erstwhile Kings who had endowed several acres of properties for its maintenance. Referring to “Powers and duties of the Commissioner in respect of temples and religious endowments” and “Care required of trustee and his powers” as explained under Section 23 and 28 of the HR&CE Act, Mr. Kannan said the Commissioner had power to appoint a committee to enquire into the affairs of the temple to streamline the administration of the temple.

Tight security 

According to police sources, a contingent of police personnel headed by an officer in the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police would be deployed at Sri Sabanayagar Temple premises early on Tuesday as part of the arrangements made for the inspection.

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