Madras High Court Asks District Collector To Handover Ancient Temple To Archaeology Department After It Identifies Sculptures, Statues Etc

Upasana Sajeev

22 Feb 2024 2:15 PM GMT

  • Madras High Court Asks District Collector To Handover Ancient Temple To Archaeology Department After It Identifies Sculptures, Statues Etc

    The Madras High Court has recently asked the Namakkal District Collector to handover required extent of land of the Sri Kottaianna Swamy Temple to the Archaeology Department for conducting research. The department had, on inspection found important archaeological remains in the temple premises. Justice SM Subramaniam asked the authorities to initiate land acquisition proceedings...

    The Madras High Court has recently asked the Namakkal District Collector to handover required extent of land of the Sri Kottaianna Swamy Temple to the Archaeology Department for conducting research. The department had, on inspection found important archaeological remains in the temple premises.

    Justice SM Subramaniam asked the authorities to initiate land acquisition proceedings and complete the same within a period of 6 months to avoid further damage to the site area and the sculptures, culverts, statutes etc.

    β€œIn view of the above conclusion arrived by the Assistant Executive Engineer, Department of Archaeology and the Archaeological Officer, Dharmapuri, the respondents are directed to initiate all appropriate actions to protect the monuments, culverts, sculptures etc., and to initiate further action to do all acts under the relevant provisions of the statutes and rules in force. The site protection is directed to be given immediately, so as to avoid further damage to the site area or to the sculptures, culverts, statutes etc., identified by the Archaeology Department,” the court observed.

    The court was hearing a plea by one C Rasu seeking directions to the authorities to preserve the heritage scriptures and historical monuments. Rasu had submitted that the temple was constructed during the period of 1400-1600BC by King Allalal Ellaya Naicker, who had kept gold, diamonds, and other ornaments in a subway constructed under the temple.

    Rasu submitted that many important preservatives were available at the entrance of the temple which required protection and he had made representation to the authorities for the same, which was not acted upon. He added that some people claiming to be adjacent landowners were attempting to dig the sand compound near the temple in the guise of getting gold, diamonds, and other valuables.

    The court had directed the Archaeology Department and the District authorities to conduct a field inspection. Following this direction, an inspection was conducted and the department informed the court that certain important archeological remains were identified in the area.

    Noting that these remains needed protection, the court directed the department to take over the area and conduct further investigation.

    Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr.N.Umapathi

    Counsel for the Respondents: Mrs.P.Vijaya Devi, Government Advocate

    Citation: 2024 LiveLaw (Mad) 80

    Case Title: C Rasu v The Principal Secretary and Commissioner

    Case No: W.P.No.804 of 2021


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