Published On: Thu, Oct 28th, 2021

Madras High Court halts TN govt’s move to melt temple gold into bars

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday flagged the ambitious programme of the state Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department to melt temple gold and deposit it in banks.

The direction was passed by the Madras HC on petitions filed by petitioners Saravanan and Gopalkrishnan

With this move, the HR&CE department was planning to earn a huge amount of money as interest from the banks.

The direction was passed by the Madras HC on petitions filed by petitioners Saravanan and Gopalkrishnan who pleaded to quash the Centre’s September 9 order.

A bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Adikesavalu directed that the approval of stamp from the trustees was a must.

The court also ordered a three-member committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to complete the inspection of inventories in these temples.

The HR&CE department had earlier planned to melt 2137 kg of unused gold ornaments received in temples as donation to 24-carat gold bars and deposit them in nationalised banks. The interest accrued was to be used for renovation and maintenance of the temples.

Chief Minister MK Stalin had launched the programme on October 13, which was stoutly opposed by right-wing organisations.

The DMK government had, however, maintained that this was in practice since 1977 and that 500 kg of temple ornaments were melted and deposited in banks earning an interest of Rs 11 crore.

However, the order of the Madras High Court is a rebuttal to the Stalin government and it is to be seen whether the state government would go for an appeal in the Supreme Court.

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