The Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday pulled up the authorities of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and asked them to regulate errant hoteliers, traders and shop owners in Tirumala.
This comes after reports that many shopkeepers and restaurant owners in the temple town fleeced the devotees following the demonetisation by the Centre, as many charged a 'commission' of Rs 50 or Rs 100 to exchange a Rs 500 note.
The court was dealing with a public interest petition by a devotee.
The Times of India quoted the bench as saying, "Your main revenue is coming through the pilgrims and hence you have to attend to their problems even from an economic view point...You have said that you imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on such hoteliers who were found violating the norms. What impact will it have if their daily income itself is more than Rs 50,000. They will pay the penalty and continue their irregularities?"
The case will come up for hearing again in two weeks.
The TTD is continuing to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in its hundi from pilgrims.
However, other donations and payments for pujas, accommodation and worship are only being validated by the new currency notes.
The temple board has also set up debit and credit card machines and provided free food to pilgrims stranded without money.
Meanwhile, in a a separate development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to explain the steps it has taken or will take to deal with the chaos outside banks and ATMs following the demonetisation move and observed that people should not suffer.