MADURAI: The Madras High Court bench here today ordered a biometric attendance system to be put in place for the staff of the famous Lord Muruga temple in Tiruchendur on a PIL that alleged fleecing of devotees by unauthorised priests in the name of god.
A division bench of justices M V Muralidaran and T Krishnavalli gave the direction to the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department and the joint commissioner of the Sri Subramaniaswamy temple, located on the shores of Tiruchendur, about 180 km from here.
The temple is among the six highly revered abodes of Lord Muruga in the state and thronged by a large number of devotees.
The court was passing orders on a PIL filed by R S Kalyanasundaram, a devotee, who alleged that unauthorised persons were collecting huge amounts of money from the devotees in the name of god and also causing loss to the temple.
The bench also directed the temple authorities to warn the legally-appointed priests that they should not demand money from the devotees, other than what was fixed by the administration for special poojas.
It directed the authorities of the HR&CE department, which administers a large number of temples in the state, to make surprise visits to the shrine to find out whether non-appointee "archakas" (priests) were performing poojas.
The temple authorities should also ensure good toilet and water facilities, the bench said.
Asking the officials to comply with the directions immediately, the judges sought a report about the compliance on July 5.
The bench said the temple should ensure that all poojas were performed only by the legally-appointed "archakas".
The petitioner had also prayed that no one should be allowed to enter the temple for a special pooja without purchasing a ticket and that no unauthorised person should be allowed inside the temple.