Court nod for the State to take over temple land for collectorate

Chennai – The Madras High Court has green signalled the Tamil Nadu government to acquire 35 acres of the temple land in Kallakurichi for construction of a Collectorate and other Government buildings in the newly created Kallakurichi district.

The issue pertains to a public interest writ petition filed by activist Rangarajan Narasinhan challenging a Government order dated 19th September 2020, paving way for alienation of land owned by the Arthananeeshwarar Temple in Kallakurichi to the State government for the Collectorate complex. The petitioner, during his submissions, stated that the Temple, which is more than 1,000 years old, is currently dilapidated and may collapse any moment from lack of upkeep. He said the land was the only source of revenue for the Temple, and the same can be alienated only for the benefit of the Temple and not for any other purpose.

The Bench, however, refused to vacate an interim stay passed against the state restraining it from altering the physical features of the land. Noting that the lands are proposed to be used only for a public purpose which is in the larger good of the society, the Bench directed the State to constitute a two-member committee comprising Kallakurichi District Collector and District Judge to ascertain the value of the land to be alienated.