It is not just one among the numerous cases of usurping temple property and selling the same to many persons, rather a strange case of not indulging in `Kattalai’ for the Lord at the famous Sri Thenpalaniandavar Temple, Tenkasi, in Tirunelveli district.
The Kattalai – performing “Thiurkappu and Thiruveethi elutharulal” festival to Lord Thenpalani Andavar reigning at Arulmigu Thenpalani Anandavar Temple, during the annual Thirukarthigai utsavam – has not been performed for 49 years consecutively.
When the case came up for hearing before M.Veera Shanmugha Moni, commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department, the latter directed the temple authorities to take possession of the property under encroachment and initiate steps to auction the same for lease on fresh terms. He also held that the ultimate beneficiary from the said property is the “minor idol.”
After learning about non-performance of Kattalai by those holding the said property, the temple joint commissioner ordered the tenant to pay a sum of Rs. 2.66 lakh as expenditure incurred for the conduct of the said festival, in 2015. As he didn’t mention anything about the current expenditure or the conduct in future, one S. Velayutham, who purchased the property, initially agreed to remit the expenses, but went on an appeal before the commissioner.
“The reading of the deed dated February 19, 1930, in whole would disclose the nature of the endowment and it will be gainsaid for the Appellant (Velayutham) to contend otherwise. The ultimate beneficiary from the said property is minor idol. The legal descendants of said Andiyapillai who all the more can act in the capacity of manager of the property cannot barter away the rights of the idol to their whims and fancies.
After the demise of said Andiyapillai, his legal descendants illegally sold the property to Subram ania Bhatter in 1964 who in turn illegally sold the property to Rangasamy Naidu, the husband of Jamuna,” the commissioner said.
Following the demise of said Rangasamy Naidu, his wife Jamuna, “illegally” sold the property to Velayutham in 2013. The property were alienated with covenant to perform the said kattalai but the purchasers had failed to perform the Kattalai from 1964 to 2013.