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Devaswom commissioner says his post undermined high court round-up

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court was informed by the Travancore Devaswom Commissioner that corruption and mismanagement in temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board were rampant because of the appointment of politicians on the Board.

In an affidavit, Devaswom Commissioner V. Nalinakshan Nair said the Commissioner’s post was the most pivotal one as far as the administration and management of temples were concerned. The Commissioner was the Chief Executive Officer of the Board. He was appointed by the High Court from a panel of names. But the Commissioner had been divested of his powers. He said the contention of the Board secretary that the Commissioner was duty-bound to obey the Board’s orders was not factually correct. In fact, the Board was empowered to take decisions only on policy matters. The day-to-day administration of the Board should be carried out by the Commissioner. He was not a subordinate officer on the Board.

The affidavit was filed in response to a report filed by the Ombudsman for Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards denouncing the action of the government in reducing the power of the Devaswom commissioner. The secretary had earlier filed a statement supporting the action.

The Commissioner also pointed out that there was lobbying for getting transfer as administrators of temples with revenue of Rs.50 lakh and above. Assistant Devaswom Commissioners were posted as administrators.

The affidavit of the Commissioner said there should be harmonious relationship between the Board and the commissioner. Instead, the Board had adopted an attitude of employer-employee relationship, leading to the treatment of the Commissioner as a subordinate. This was not just and proper for the better administration of temples.

Bail granted

Justice K. Hema granted bail to V. Girish, second accused in a case relating to cheating of NRIs in connection with the setting up of a trust.

Santhosh Madhavan was the first accused in the case. The court ordered that the second accused be released on bail on his executing a bond for Rs.25,000. He was also directed to appear before the investigation officer on all Mondays and surrender his passport.

Revaluation

Justice S. Siri Jagan has directed the Calicut University to see that the answer papers of Ajitha who gave an application for revaluing her M.A. Sociology answer papers was traced out expeditiously.

The order came on a writ petition filed by Ajitha. She said that she was yet to get the result of the revaluation despite a lapse of three years.

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