BJP MP Subramanian Swamy seeks Tirupati temple to be taken out of government control; Supreme Court asks him to move Andhra High Court

By: | Updated: September 17, 2018 9:17 PM

The Supreme Court Monday asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to move the Andhra Pradesh High Court with his plea challenging the provisions of a state law by which the administration and control of Hindu religious institutions are taken over by the state government.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy (Express Photo)

The Supreme Court Monday asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to move the Andhra Pradesh High Court with his plea challenging the provisions of a state law by which the administration and control of Hindu religious institutions are taken over by the state government. A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra asked the BJP leader to approach the high court for remedy.

Swamy in his plea has challenged the constitutional validity of various provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987.

He has contended that the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD), including Sri Venkateswaraswamy Temple at Tirumala, Sri Padmavathy Temple in Tiruchaanur and another 11 temples in Andhra Pradesh, were the richest temple in India in terms of annual income and asset holdings.

“For two generations, the temple has been under total control of the State Government,” he said in his plea.

Swamy said that under the guise of sanction provided in the law to administer the religious institutions, the Andhra Pradesh government “has virtually usurped the fundamental religious, administrative and cultural rights of Hindu Citizens and denominations…”.

He said the hereditary trustees, Mahants, Archakas and other temple-oriented communities, as well as the worshippers who account for a major source of offerings and funds of the religious institutions, have become “passive observers and distant onlookers with practically no say in religious matters.

“This consequence by itself is an encroachment on their rights and their freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion,” his plea said.
He sought declaration of provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987 as ultra vires under the Constitution.

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