Madras HC disallows state’s HR&CE department from starting new colleges
The bench of the Madras HC comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Adikesavalu issued the orders on public interest litigation (PIL) filed that barred the state government’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department from opening new colleges in the state.
A public interest petition was filed by T R Ramesh challenging the government order of the Tamil Nadu Higher Education department permitting the HR&CE department to open new colleges.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department were planning to open eight new arts and science colleges in various districts of Tamil Nadu.
The court has also directed the HR&CE department to introduce a new subject on Hindu religion on a regular stream basis within four months in the colleges under the department that have already started functioning.
The petitioner, T R Ramesh said in his petition that funds of the temples should be used for the restoration and renovation of the temples concerned. He claimed that the decisions on financial matters can be taken only by the trustees and not those persons appointed on an ad hoc basis for managing the administration of the temples.
It is also alleged in the petition that steps for establishing a college by the Kapaleeshwar temple at Kolathur, the Assembly constituency of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin was taken in a rush and proper procedures were not followed in establishing the college.
Tamil Nadu advocate general (AG), R Shanmugasundaram informed the court that of the eight colleges sanctioned by the Higher Education department, four have already started functioning — Kolathur in Chennai, Thiruchengode in Namakkal, Oddanchathram in Dindigul and Vilathikulam in Thoothukudi, and admission proceedings have started. The AG told the Court that four other colleges would be set up soon.
He informed the Court that once a part of the temple fund is deposited under the common goods funds with the HR&CE Commissioner, it could be utilized for opening new colleges. He said the process of opening educational institutions by the HR&CE department is not new and cited the example of Paraskathi college under the department at Kuttalam which was functioning in a commendable manner for the past six decades.
The Court has directed the AG that these colleges will not be allowed to function if a new subject on Hindu religion is not taught on a regular basis.
The HR&CE department has been restrained by the Madras High Court from opening new colleges without appointing trustees for those particular temples as also without the consent of the court other than the four already set up.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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