Madras HC judge visits temple as commoner, detects corruption

Madras High Court Judge S.M. Subramaniam on Monday came down heavily on the administration of a temple here after taking a serious note of corruption in the issuance of special ‘darshan’ tickets.

He said that he had visited the Dhandayuthapani temple, Chennai temple, Chennai on Saturday with his family. He did not disclose his identity and also did not take the VIP darshan. Instead, he paid Rs 150 for three special darshan tickets each costing Rs 50.

To his surprise, the judge found that the staff at the counter provided two tickets worth Rs 50 each and the third one for Rs 5 Rs. When he questioned about this, the staff behaved rudely with him, said the judge.

In the open court, the judge while narrating the experience to the state government Pleader P. Muthukumar and the Executive Officer of the temple said the staff of the temple was not willing to share the contact number of the executive officer of the temple.

He said that when his wife enquired with the staff as to why the executive officer was not sharing the phone number while even the Chief Minister’s contact number was available, the staff said, “The CM may share his number but we cannot share the phone number of the temple executive officer.”

The judge said that the temple staff entered into an argument with his family, and even tried to push him out of the temple when the police arrived on the scene and identified him.

Judge Subramaniam said the temple was having a turnover of Rs 14 crore per annum and said that the temple was owning properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees.

He also said that the executive officer of the temple was equally responsible for the issues that took place in the temple and said that she cannot be absolved of the disciplinary proceedings to be taken. The Judge said that the HR&CE department had posted officers in the rank of Deputy Commissioners as executive officers to manage such temples and that the executive officer of this temple had erred in her duty.

Judge Subramaniam handed over a written complaint addressed to the HR&CE commissioner to the state government Pleader and said that if necessary he can identify the temple staff who behaved rudely with him and his family.

He said that it was only when constitutional authorities visit public places without VIP treatment that they can understand the amount of difficulties being faced by the common man.

The judge also said that he was not initiating suo moto proceedings in the case as he was expecting proper action from the HR&CE commissioner. The state government Pleader assured the judge that proper action would be taken and that it would be reported to the court by the second week of January.

20221219-161404

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