Court asks Podhu Dikshitars to submit temple records over illegal construction claim

The Madras High Court on Thursday asked the Podhu Dikshitars of the Thillai Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram to provide the temple’s financial records for the past three years. The directive came during a hearing in the court after the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Commissioner accused the Podhu Dikshitars of carrying out unauthorised constructions inside the temple.

In its petition, the government department alleged that alterations to the temple’s structure were being planned without informing the state-level expert committee.

During the hearing presided over by Justices R Mahadevan and D Audikesavalu, the department’s counsel argued that despite assurances from the Dikshitars that no changes or constructions would be made, alterations to the temple structure had occurred.

Furthermore, the counsel claimed discrepancies in the temple records, stating that while the income for the year 2023-24 was reported as Rs 2 lakh, the income during the Thiruvathirai day pujas alone amounted to Rs 6 lakh.

Harishankar, representing the Podhu Dikshitars, countered these allegations, asserting that no illegal constructions had taken place. He accused the department of attempting indirect intervention in the temple’s maintenance.

After considering the arguments, the court ordered the Podhu Dikshitars and the trust to submit the accounts for the last three years, along with details of income tax returns and video evidence demonstrating that no illegal constructions had occurred.

The case has been adjourned until Friday.

Published On:

Feb 22, 2024

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