The Karnataka government is considering enacting a law to free temples from state control. The practice of state control over religious institutions began in the Bengal and Madras Presidencies in 1817 during the colonial rule.
In the year 1925, the Madras Religious and Charitable Endowments Act put the temples under government control.
However, the move was strongly opposed by minority communities. Due to this their places of worship were kept out of the purview of this Act. Thus only Hindu temples were left under this Act.
Arguments in favor of government control
- Earning high amount of revenue from temples.
- Government surveillance can prevent financial irregularities.
- Social reforms such as challenging the tradition of appointment of hereditary priests, ensuring non-discriminatory entry into public temples, etc.
Arguments Against Government Control:
- The revenue of temples is the property of the society. It should be used for the development of temples and for social work.
- It is alleged that the temple revenue is used to promote other religious institutions. This is a violation of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution, as other religious institutions are not governed by any similar Government Act.
- The government has a dismal record of maintaining the archaeological nature of the temples.
Source – The Hindu