Endowments Bill passed in Council again

The Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Second Amendment) 2011 Bill, which was defeated in the Assembly in December last, has been passed in the Council for the second time.

The Bill, piloted by Muzrai Minister V S Acharya, had a smooth passage in the Council on Tuesday. The Bill is scheduled to be placed in the Assembly on Wednesday. The ruling party faced embarrassment  when the Bill was defeated by a single vote in the Assembly in December.

When Acharya insisted that the Bill should be taken up for consideration, the Opposition said the Bill has been brought with political motive.

JD(S) leader M C Nanaiah alleged that management committees of muzrai temples have been packed with politicians. For example, he said, the development committee members of the Omkareshwara temple in Kodagu were associated with the BJP and other saffron wings. Similar objections were raised by Congress leader Motamma and JD(S) member Basavaraj Horatti.

Reacting to them, Acharya said henceforth temple administration boards will be devoid of politicians. Members, who belong to political parties, would be declared as ineligible, he told the House.

Later, the Bill was put to voice vote and eventually it was passed as the BJP is numerically stronger than the combined opposition in the Council.

In the Assembly, the Bill was opposed on the grounds that the government had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that it would bring religious mutts and temples attached to them under the purview of the Act. Contrary to that, the present Bill has kept these institutions out of the purview of the Act.

The government had stated it is necessary to amend the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act 1997, to remove certain difficulties faced while enforcing the provisions of the Act. The Bill aims to specify that the provisions of the Act shall apply to all religious institutions or charitable endowments notified under Section 23.

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