Madurai, Sept 4: Expressing surprise over the Sivaganga district Collector's claim that the encroachment on a temple land did not cause hindrance to anybody, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court today directed him to either remove it or acquire the land and use it for public purpose.
Disposing a writ petition filed by the Trustee of Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple at Pattamangalam in Tirupathur Taluk, Justice K Chandru said the Collector should have taken action and restored the land belonging to the temple after removing the encroachments. But he had tried to justify the encroachment by saying it was not a hindrance to the temple.
When any wing of the government entered temple property, it could be only by a lawful process. If the Collector wanted to take the temple land, he should either have initiated steps under the Tamilnadu Highways act or proceeded under the land acquisition act.
"The mighty power of the state to enter into a temple and still justify that it was a hindrance to the temple could not be allowed.
The judge said the Collector, through his report, had only expressed helplessness in dealing with the encroachment. In view of his specific stand, it would be futile for the court to give any direction on the temple's present prayer - to remove the encroachments. - Agencies