Madras HC pulls up authorities for large-scale mining and other illegalities taking place at temple properties in the Krishnagiri district

Madras HC pulls up authorities for large-scale mining and other illegalities taking place at temple properties in the Krishnagiri district

The Madras High Court pulled up authorities for large-scale mining and other illegalities taking place at temple properties in the Krishnagiri district.

Background 

The petitioner in person states that for the past about 25 years, he has been involved in securing and safeguarding the temple properties and to restore the said properties for the benefit of the temples concerned. The petitioner states that in Krishnagiri District, while inspecting several temples, the properties worth about several crores belonging to many temples are being looted and large scale illegal mining operations are permitted with the active and passive collusion of the public officials. He took several efforts to control the illegal mining operations in temples properties and to restore the properties for the welfare of the temple activities and for the benefit of the devotees and to honour the donors, who donated the properties for providing service to the temples.

Arguments

The Special Government Pleader appearing on behalf of the HR & CE Department and the Additional Government Pleader appearing on behalf of the other Government Departments, contended that actions are initiated in respect of the serious allegations raised by the petitioner. The District Collector convened meetings and review meetings and the Officials from various Departments participated in the review meeting and certain required particulars were also collected and discussions were made for further actions.

The petitioner reiterated that meetings are conducted however actions are yet to be taken in respect of illegal mining and for recovery of temple properties running to several crores. 

Decision 

The single judge bench of Justice S.M. Subramaniam noted that the allegations set out by the petitioner in his representations are no doubt shocking to the conscience of the Court. Illegal mining operations itself is running to more than 200 Crores. Several acres of temple properties are being looted and documents are registered fraudulently and the properties belonging to the temples are not being utilized for the benefit of the temples. 

The court directed the District Collector, Krishnagiri, to convene a review meeting in the presence of all concerned Government Department Officials and consider the progress made in the matter of dealing with the illegalities, fraudulent activities, illegal mining etc.

The court also directed the respondents to initiate swift actions to prevent all the illegal mining operations and consequential illegalities in respect of temple properties and further initiate all necessary actions, including criminal prosecution and civil actions for recovery against all concerned. 

Case title: A.Radhakrishnan v/s The Secretary to Government

Citation: W.P.No. 27646 of 2021

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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