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Supreme Court's ruling in Chidambaram temple case to impact appointment of EOs in Andhra also
The Supreme Court in its order dated January 06, 2014 in the Chidambaram Temple Case in Civil Appeal 10620 of 2013 has in Para 47 laid down the law that appointment of Executive Officers to temples cannot be for an indefinite period of time.
The same is to be made only in case of grave mismanagement or misappropriation and the order of appointment needs to specify the reason and the time for which the appointment is made as part of regulation to remedy the problem after which the administration should be entrusted back to the local devotee community of the concerned temple.

This is a landmark judgement which is equally applicable to the State of Andhra Pradesh as here the Executive Officers are not only appointed without specifying the reason which in itself is unconstitutional and in violation of Art 25 and Art 26 of the Constitution and further the orders have never specified the time limit for which the appointment is made.

It is also a fact that the Endowments Department has misused the powers by appointing Executive Officers/Managers to large number of temples after 1987 and the Officials have in general not worked in public interest and there have been many cases where they have looted temple assets such as Fixed Deposits, Ornaments, Lands etc. and in bigger temples have caused increase in corruption and have always served only their VIP masters leaving the common devotees in the lurch.

The EOs have started behaving like Monarchs and have big cars, A/c Cottages, offices, Secretaries and all additional with vices, all of the above at the cost of the rituals in the Temples. Now is the time the devotees will start revolting shortly.

In light of the Supreme Court judgement in the Chidambaram Temple Case we appeal to the Andhra Pradesh Government to immediately review all the appointments of Executive Officers/Managers in temples and recall the same as it is in violation of the guidelines specified by the Supreme Court and restore the temples back to the devotee community.

This not only will improve the devotional atmosphere in temples bringing back peace and prosperity to the region it will also improve the financial position of temples as the contribution towards Endowments Administration Fund from which the salaries of the Executive Officers is paid can be substantially reduced from its current 12% levels allowing more funds with temples so that the devotee community can use the same for promoting devotional activities in the temple.

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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