Madras HC Judge Visits Temple As Commoner, Detects Corruption

Justice S.M. Subramaniam of the Madras High Court on Monday took serious note of misappropriation of public money in the issuance of special darshan tickets at the Vadapalani Dhandayudhapani temple in Chennai.

He said that he had visited the Dhandayuthapani temple, Chennai temple, Chennai on Saturday with his family. He did not disclose his identity and also did not take the VIP darshan. Instead, he paid Rs 150 for three special darshan tickets each costing Rs 50.

To his surprise, the judge found that the staff at the counter provided two tickets worth Rs 50 each and the third one for Rs 5 Rs. When he questioned about this, the staff behaved rudely with him, said the judge.

Thereafter, the judge and his family members went to the EO’s room to lodge a complaint, but the official was not present. When they insisted on sharing her phone number, the staff “behaved rudely” with the judge and refused to share the number stating that no such irregularity had taken place in the temple. “They had acted in a manner unbecoming of public servants and dealt with us in a rough, rude and arrogant manner. Having no other option, I called the High Court Registrar to provide us the assistance of the local police. On the police’s arrival, I disclosed my identity by informing my name and designation,” the judge said. Even in the presence of the police, the temple superintendent told the judge he would not share the EO’s phone number, and the latter had asked him to give the complaint and leave the place.

He said that when his wife enquired with the staff as to why the executive officer was not sharing the phone number while even the Chief Minister’s contact number was available, the staff said, “The CM may share his number but we cannot share the phone number of the temple executive officer.”

The judge said that the temple staff entered into an argument with his family, and even tried to push him out of the temple when the police arrived on the scene and identified him.

Following this encounter two office assistant-level staff of the Vadapalani Andavar temple in Vadapalani have been placed under suspension following a complaint filed by a judge of the Madras High Court.The Senior officials of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department enquired into the incident and suspended the two persons. One was the woman who had issued the tickets and another was the man who took the tickets and let the special ticket holders inside.

The woman at the counter had been there for only three days as the regular person was on leave. Both archana and special tickets were of the same colour. The officials have now instructed that a separate special ticket counter be placed to avoid such confusion in the future. In other temples, including Sri Parthasarathy Perumal temple and Kapaleeswarar temple, special ticket counters are placed separately.

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