Chennai: Madras High Court judge SM Subramaniam on Monday came down heavily on the administration of a temple here after noticing corruption in the issuance of special ‘darshan’ cards.
He said he visited Dhandayuthapani Temple, Chennai Temple, Chennai with his family on Saturday. He did not disclose his identity and also did not take VIP darshan. Instead, he paid Rs 150 for three special darshan tickets of Rs 50 each.
To his surprise, the judge saw that the staff at the counter had given him two tickets for 50 euros and the third for 5 euros. When he asked about this, the staff were rude to him, the judge said.
In the open court, the judge while narrating the experience to the state government Pleader P. Muthukumar and the executive officer of the temple said that the temple staff were not ready to share the contact number of the executive officer of the temple.
When his wife asked the staff why he was not sharing the phone number while the chief minister’s contact number was also available, the staff said, “The CM can share his number but we cannot share the phone number. of the temple in-charge.”
The judge said the temple staff started arguing with his family and even tried to kick him out of the temple when the police reached the spot and identified him.
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Justice Subramaniam said the temple had a turnover of Rs 14 crore a year and said the temple had properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
He said that the executive officer of the temple was equally responsible for the issues that happened in the temple, and said that he cannot be absolved from the disciplinary proceedings that should be done. The judge said that the HR&CE department had deputed officers at the level of deputy commissioners as executive officers to manage these temples and the executive officer of this temple had erred in his duty.
Justice Subramaniam handed over a written complaint addressed to the HR&CE Commissioner to the state government’s Pleader and said that if necessary he can identify the temple workers who misbehaved with him and his family.
He said that only when constitutional authorities visit public places without VIP treatment will they be able to understand the hardships faced by the common man.
The judge also said that he did not initiate his own motion proceedings in the case as he was awaiting appropriate action from the HR&CE Commissioner. The state government’s Pleader assured the court that appropriate action would be taken and will be reported to the court by the second week of January.