The Madras High Court on Tuesday called for an explanation from the State government on the status of 47,000 acres of temple land reportedly missing from government records since the policy note for 1984-85 states that there were 5.25 lakh acres whereas the note for 2019-20 refers to availability of only 4.78 lakh acres.
Justices N. Kirubakaran and T.V. Thamilselvi directed Government Counsel Richard Wilson to take notice on behalf the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department and ensure that a counter affidavit was filed by July 5. The judges said, it prima facie appears that the 47,000 acres were missing when compared to the figures provided in the two policy notes.
Therefore, they insisted that the government should file a counter affidavit with specific details and survey numbers of the lands mentioned in the policy note for the years 1984-85 and those mentioned in the latest policy note. The judges pointed out that it should not be difficult for the HR&CE department to submit the information in court since it was expected to be in possession of all those details.
The interim orders were passed on a writ petition which insisted on retrieving the missing lands and restore their possession to the temples to which they belong so the income derived from them could be used for maintaining the institutions besides performing prayers and rituals.