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What is the news?
The Supreme Court has ruled that priests cannot become owners of the land vested in deities. The ruling also stopped the government from becoming owners.
About the Maharashtra government notification
Earlier, the Maharashtra government issued a notification to delete the names of priests from revenue records as owners of temple land. Instead, the ownership is vested in the Collector name.
This notification aims to protect the temple properties from unauthorised sale. Further, the notification makes the government as owner of temple property.
What has the Supreme court ruled?
The Supreme Court ruled that,
The priest cannot be treated to be the owner. Further, they have no right with the temple property which could be protected under any of the provisions of the Code.
The court also stopped the government from becoming owners. This is because the name of the Collector as a manager cannot be recorded in respect of property vested in the deity as the Collector cannot be a manager of all temples unless it is a temple vested with the state.
Instead, the court said that the name of the deity alone is required to be mentioned, as the deity being a juristic person is the owner of the land.
Source: This post is based on the article “Priests can’t be owners of temple deity’s land, says Supreme court” published in The Times of India on 7 September 2021.