Kochi, Nov 27 (UNI) Kerala High Court today appointed retired Judge R Bhaskaran as the Ombudsman of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and Cochin Devaswom Board (CDB) for a period of three years.
A Division Bench comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and T R Ramachandran Nair gave the order while hearing a batch of petitions seeking inquiry into the irregularities in both the Boards.
The court, while appointing the Ombudsman, observed that there was no proper machinery for the court to supervise the functioning of the boards and added that it received large number of complaints from the public, raising serious allegations of maladministration against the board members, other officers and temple employees.
The Ombudsman would oversee the audits undertaken by the auditors appointed by it and also examine the boards' accounts whenever required, the court said. The court also added that the Ombudsman should also submit periodical reports to the court with regard to irregular, illegal and improper expenditure or the acts of failure to recover money and other properties due to the boards or by the institutions under their management or of loss or waste of money or other property thereof caused by neglect or misconduct.
The Ombudsman could investigate all complaints received from the devotees, temple employees, members of the board or from government with regard to misappropriation or corruption in boards' functioning and submit periodic reports to the court.
The court said the Ombudsman would take effective steps to expediate cases pending before various courts and see that they were properly and effectively conducted so as to safeguard the interest of the temples.
The Ombudsman should also take effective steps to improve the working condition and quality of education at the various institutions of the boards, the court said.
The court directed the Ombudsman to initiate steps to computerise those temples, which were under the boards and introduce modern counting machines to account 'Kanikka Vanchis' so that corruption and misappropraition of money would be reduced.
The Ombudsman should also take steps to recover properties, movable and immovable, of various temples, which were encroached by third parties.
The court directed the boards to provide proper infrastructure and state government, the service of a police officer of high reputation and integrity not below the rank of Superintendent of Police and sufficient police force to investigate the various complaints received by the Ombudsman.
The head office of the Ombudsman would be in Ernakulam and he would assume charge on December 1.