HC notice to State on private temple case

The Karnataka High Court sought a response from the State government on why 27 guntas (two-thirds of an acre) of public land were given to a private temple trust in Singasandra village, on the southern outskirts of Bangalore.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Muniraju and others, challenging a government order dated May 10, 2011, which had granted the land to the trust.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Aravind Kumar allowed the villagers to continue praying at the temple, even during the course of the litigation. “There will not be any restriction on the villagers for conducting ceremony at the three temples,” the Bench observed.

The petitioners in their submission said that the three temples of Pilakamma, Maheshwaramma and Kalikamba were two centuries old and have been worshipped from time immemorial until Venkatesh, a resident of the area, formed a trust.

According to the petitioners, Venkatesh, who proclaimed himself as priest of these temples, made a representation to the government in 2008 and asked for 27 guntas of land at Survey No. 24, at Singasandra village in Begur hobli.

Counsel for the petitioners, Sanketh Yenagi in his submission pointed out that the government obliged him. He said after this incident the villagers were barred from entering the temple and worshipping the deity.

Alleging that the government authorities were in collusion with Venkatesh, “the false priest”, the petitioners demanded land grant be quashed and the temples be handed over to Muzrai department for the development of the temples. The matter has been adjourned for three weeks.

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