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Are there two laws in operation in regard to temple lands in Telangana? Is there one for courts and the other for the revenue department? This question has come to the fore with the Ranga Reddy District Collector issuing form-C, notifying acquisition of 148.12 acres in survey numbers 1,663 to 1,673 in Sitharampur village in Shabad mandal.

According to the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the land belongs to Sitaramaswamy temple in Sitharampur. The notification states that the land was required to meet needs of TSIIC, without mentioning the purpose.

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Further, VHP says once the land acquisition process is completed, the temple would not only be deprived of 148.12 acres, but its future will be left in the lurch. That apart, VHP spokesperson RavinuthalaSasidhar contends that the notification itself is illegal and misleading the Hindus. Besides, it not only violates laws but all the verdicts of the Supreme Court.

Sasidharsays, “Any citizen when visiting/listening to the call work process in any court can easily make out the difference.” For example, when a temple land is in dispute in a civil court, during the call work process, the party to the suit is called “Sitharamaswamy represented by Executive Officer of SitharamaswamyDevastanam.”

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As per SC judgments, all properties that belong to a temple are vested in the deity, recognised as a legal person under laws and court judgments. Neither the revenue nor the endowments department can claim temple lands belonging to the latter. But, the notification claims that the land is endowment department land.

“If we have to accept the contents of the notification, then, it amounts that there are two laws relating to the temple properties operating in Telangana – One followed by courts and the other by the revenue department,” Sasidharsaid.

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Shockingly, this continues to take place in Telangana, despite the Collector, Revenue officials being jailed and penalised for violation of laws and court directions. When contacted, a senior endowments official refused to comment, saying they have no information on the issue. #KhabarLive #hydnews

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