New law to govern non-religious trusts

Home Minister V S Acharya, who also holds the Muzrai portfolio, told reporters in Bangalore on Monday that presently there are 5,680 non-religious charitable trusts in the State and most of them are running educational institutions or hospitals. The new legislation will bring them under its purview. At present they are not governed by any legislation. The provisions will be finalised soon and placed before the Cabinet.

Previously, charitable trusts came under the Bombay Public Trust Act. However, the Act was repealed following the formation of Karnataka. Later, the government brought only religious trusts under the aegis of Karnataka Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act, 1997. However, in September 2006, the Karnataka High Court struck down the entire Act stating that its provisions amounted to dividing the Hindu religion.

The Supreme Court upheld the Act but suggested some changes. The apex court, however, stayed constitution of managing committees in temples. He said the government has proposed to bring amendments to the Karnataka Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act, 1997 as suggested by the Supreme Court. There are around 9,000 Hindu charitable trusts registered in the State. The Government has decided to provide Rs 12,000 each as annual grants (tastik) to 28,000 temples in the State.The scheme will cost the exchequer Rs 58 crore per annum, he added.

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