"Our Constitution does not allow it," said writer Kancha Ilaiah, one of the petitioners in the case.

KCRs gold offerings to gods unconstitutional PIL filed in Hyderabad HCFile photo
news News Saturday, March 04, 2017 - 15:13

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Hyderabad High Court on Friday against K Chandrasekhar Rao for his unending spree of gifting gold ornaments to several temples across Telangana and Andhra.

The plea was filed by Professor Kancha Ilaiah - a writer - and activist, CPI-M leader Gundamala Ramulu.

This comes after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao offered gold ornaments worth Rs 5 crore to Lord Balaji and a nose-stud worth Rs 45,000 to Goddess Padmavathi, at Tirupati, utilising the state’s finances.

Later, he continued his tour by presenting a gold moustache worth more than Rs.60,000 to Lord Veerabhadra Swamy in Mahbubabad district.

These offerings were all part of a 'thanksgiving trip' by KCR, to fulfill a personal vow that he had taken during Telangana's fight for statehood.

Speaking to The News Minute, Kancha Ilaiah said, "The Telangana government issued three Government Orders, to use money from the Common Good Fund, which comes under the Endowments Department, to fulfill a personal vow taken by the state's Chief Minister."

Kancha argues that this move, is not only 'morally wrong', but also 'unconstitutional'.

"Our Constitution does not allow it. The preamble itself mentions that India is a secular country, and this kind of direct spending by the government on a religious cause, is a direct violation of the principle of secularism, that the country was founded upon," he adds.

Kancha also says that issues like these must be checked, before they go out of hand.

"This is the first time that a government has brought about GOs like this, and besides being wrong in terms of governance, there is also a larger issue. It will not stop here. Tomorrow, anyone can issue GOs for what suits their needs and continue using the state's money like this," he claimed.

"The Common Good Fund (CGF) is collected from temples which have an income of more than Rs 50,000 per month, as they are made to contribute 5% of the money they earn. It is supposed to be used for the maintenance of very poor temples, and not for someone's whim," he adds.

Besides demanding that the GOs issued be deemed illegal, the PIL also asks the court to issue orders, for the Chief Secretary to recover the amount that was spent.

Meanwhile, another development had local activists outraged.

A petition filed with the Hyderabad High Court last week, on the same issue, was closed without a hearing, activists alleged. 

"When we requested for a reason, they said that they cannot reveal reasons, nor do they intimate the petitioners by post or otherwise," said Lubna Swarath, the chief petitioner in the case.

"I want to know who paid for the travel expenses of the officials and the chief minister’s family, who went with him for the 'thanksgiving trip' to Tirupati. We want a white paper with a list of all the expenses incurred from government funds in the form of offerings for religious purposes. The expenses for his family, relatives and ministers should be from their own pockets, and not from public money," Lubna had earlier told TNM.

The petition had also quoted several GOs, which included the 'gifts' and cash that KCR had sent to Ajmer Dargah using the funds of the Waqf Board and Minority Welfare Department.

Forty senior city-based activists had also signed Lubna's petition.

Last year, KCR had presented a 11.7kg gold crown worth over Rs 3 crore to Goddess Bhadrakali at Warangal, on the occasion of Durga Navratri.

In April 2016, he offered gold ornaments worth Rs 5 crore, also from the state exchequer, to Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala.

In December 2015, KCR conducted a 'Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam,' at his 120-acre farmhouse at Erravalli village in Telangana's Medak district, even as the state was reeling from a severe agrarian crisis.

 

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