Chennai – The Madras High Court directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) to issue a public notification stipulating that all encroachers of temple properties across the State must voluntarily surrender the lands within the stipulated time, failing which arrest them under Goondas law.
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Justice S Subramaniam said in his order,
The State Government, HR&CE and Director General of Police should not hesitate to take action against such encroachers under Goondas law.
The Court also ordered the State authorities to constitute a special cell to retrieve the encroached temple properties. Officers dedicated to truth and duty must be included in this cell. The list of the members of this cell should be put up prominently in all temples and the HR&CE offices so that those who aspire to protect the temple lands can register complaints with the respective officer.
The Court said further that, it is a crime to misuse temple property; hence, the State Government should file cases against those involved in such misuse. Action should be taken against Government officials failing in their duty by taking such matters very seriously.