On Tuesday (8, June) the Madras High Court demanded an explanation from Tamil Nadu’s government update on the status of 47,000 acres of temple land that have been reported missing from federal records. During proceedings, the High Court made the following observations the policy note for 1984-85 stated that there had been 5.25 lakh acres available, while the note for 2019-20 states that only 4.78 lakh acres are available, the data presented in the two policy notes 35 years apart were reviewed, the Court concluded that the 47,000 acres of temple land were missing. 

To determine which lands have been removed from federal documents, the Court directed the government to provide a counter-affidavit with precise details and survey numbers of the areas indicated in the policy note for 1984-85 and those listed in the most recent policy note.  

The High Court has given a set of 75 instructions to the State of Tamil Nadu to guarantee that vintage temples and ancient monoliths in the state are properly preserved, highlighting the significance of preserving cultural heritage.   

The HC criticised the HR&CE and Archeology departments for not doing much to maintain old temples and statues and has issued a notice to the state government on behalf of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, with a deadline of July 5 to reply. Considerably, the Judge ordered the establishment of a Special Tribunal under the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Cultural Endowments (HR&CE Act) to deal directly with issues pertaining to temples, such as disputes over religious affairs, culture, tradition, heritage, and recovery of pending rent, validity of lease, illegal encroachment, and other temple and mutts land issues.