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Council gives nod for Hindu Religious Institutions Bill

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, NOV. 25. The Karnataka Charitable Endowments and Hindu Religious Institutions Bill was passed in the Legislative Council on Friday.

Encompassing the seven Acts that existed in the erstwhile Old Mysore, Hyderabad Karnataka, Bombay Karnataka, Kodagu, and the Renuka Yellamma Temple Act, the Bill will now go to the Assembly. After it is approved, all the institutions mentioned in the Bill will come under the control of a Commissioner.

With the passage of the Bill in the Council, the long-felt need of Hindus in the State appears to have been fulfilled. In fact, 20 years ago, the Supreme Court had expressed its surprise that Karnataka had not come out with a uniform law on these institutions. There are more than 43,000 temples, apart from various maths and other religious institutions in the State.

The Bill which was presented in the House in 1997 was referred to a Joint Select Committee following a demand that it be redrafted incorporating the other Endowment Acts in the regions, which were included in the expanded Karnataka. The amendments suggested were accepted and the Bill was approved by the select committee.

The main features of the Bill are that it will not apply to maths, temples and Hindu religious groups attached to them. Religious institutions belonging to Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains are also not covered. The officers and staff, to be appointed to administer the institutions coming under the new Bill, will protect their properties from irregularities. Their salaries will be paid by the Government and not from the temple funds, as was the case earlier.

The priest will be on the temple administrative board and the staff, including the priest, who should possess minimum educational qualifications, will get minimum wages. A fund will be instituted to meet the fundamental needs of the institutions.

The Minister of State for Charitable Institutions and Religious Endowments, Mr. Baburao Chinchansoor, assured the members that the Government would not interfere in the affairs of these institutions. It would act only when there were serious charges of irregularities against them by appointing administrators .

The House also passed the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Bill, 2000.

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