News that You can Use : Considerable opposition is building up against various state governments move to forcefully transfer of temple funds and funds of Charitable Trusts under the pretext of funding relief measures.

People in the know say that such unconstitutional ways of grabbing funds from temple trusts have been struck down by various High Courts and Apex Court from time to time in the past and the present move to grab fund will also not stand in court of law.

Bombay High Court Advocate Ravi Ganatra, who is associated with a Mumbai based Trust, said that recently, the Maharashtra Government purportedly drafted a proposal to collect temple funds and funds lying with charitable trusts under the garb of funding CM relief measures. One of the congress leader in state govt also proposed to collect gold lying with temple trusts for funding relief measures.

The Advocate informed that due to large scale protests from various temple organisations, charitable trusts and other cultural organisations, the Maharashtra Government withdrew the said proposal at the draft stage itself.

A Trustee with a Mumbai based Religious Charitable Trust Adhyatma Parivar stated that recently due to intervention of Madras High Court, the Tamil Nadu Government had to withdraw its similar circular of April, 2020. The circular had a provision for transferring Rs.10 crores to Chief Ministers Relief Fund from temple funds of 47 top temples of the State.

The trustee further stated that In this case the Madras High Court agreed with the contentions of the petitioners that temple funds could not be transferred at will to CM Relief funds through executive fiat.

Advocate Ravi Ganatra also informed that a division bench of Kerala High Court, made it clear that the donation of Rs.5 crores by the Guruvayur Devaswom managing committee to the Chief Ministers Distress Relief funds would be subject to the final outcome of cases related to diversion of funds of the Dewaswom for non-essential purposes pending before full bench.

It is believed that a few other State Governments, like UP, Orissa are also toying with their plan to collect funds from temple trusts and other charitable organisations.
The trustees of various temple and charitable trust may meet soon to plan out their strategy.

Adhyatma Parivar trustee said that there was considerable opposition to this state governments’ move. Various well known Hindu/Jain/Buddhist religious organisations and temple trusts like International Society for Krishna Consciousness(ISKON), Sidhapeth Kabir Chauranath Moolgadhi Trust, Varanasi, Adhyatma Parivar, Dharma Sangh Shiksha mandal, Varanasi, Yaduvanshi Janta Shikshan Samsthan, Gazipur(UP) are opposing the move to grab their funds.

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