The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been demanding state governments to free temples from their control. CM Bommai made the announcement while presenting the state budget on Friday (March 4).
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Bommai Friday (March 4) announced that the government would free the temples from government control in the state.
“There is a long pending demand to do away with the government control on the temples. By considering these demands of devotees, autonomy will be given to temples coming under the purview of the Endowment Department. Necessary legal action will be taken to delegate the discretion of developmental works to the temples,” CM Bommai said in the assembly while presenting the budget.
Currently, the temple management has to seek government permission to utilise the revenue generated by the temples. The plan for the development of temples and utilisation of funds must be pre-approved by the government.
In the BJP State Executive meeting in Hubli in December last year, CM Bommai had announced that his government had plans to introduce a bill to free temples and Hindus religious institutions in the state from government control.
“Currently, Hindu temples in the state are under different types of control bylaws and rules. Temples that have suffered in the hands of bureaucrats will be freed by our government. We will bring a law which will give rights to the temple management to look after their own development,” said CM Bommai.
There are 34,558 temples in Karnataka that fall under government regulation and are controlled by Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Department. CM Bommai had said it was an ideological commitment.
The VHP has been running a movement to free temples from government control. In its three-day meeting of the Central Board of Trustees and Governing Council, which concluded on December 26 in Gujarat’s Junagadh, the VHP had passed a resolution to continue the movement to free the temples in the country from government control.
From time to time, many High Courts in the country have prodded the respective state governments to take decisions to this effect but to no avail.
In a case of land encroachment of temples in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court had noted, “…the HR&CE Department, which is the custodian of the temple properties, has not taken any steps to protect the interests of temples, though the subject falls within its purview. Such a callous attitude on their part cannot be countenanced.”
In November last year, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had announced that his government would repeal the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019, thereby freeing the temples from government control.
“Considering the sentiments and interests of people, honour of priests and stakeholders and others associated with Char Dham and on the basis of the report of a high-level committee constituted under Manohar Kant Dhyani, the government has decided to repeal Devasthanam Board Act,” said Chief Minister Dhami.