Shimla, June 27: Temple offerings are for providing better facilities to devotees and not for buying vehicles for temple officials, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has ruled.
It has restrained the functionaries of the Chintpurni temple, a popular Hindu shrine in Una district, from using the vehicles purchased from the temple funds.
Temple officer Subhash Chand informed the court that five vehicles have been purchased from the temple funds.
He said one vehicle was with him while another was with the deputy commissioner, who is the temple commissioner too.
"The temple funds are strictly to be used for providing better facilities for the temple," Justice Rajiv Sharma observed in his June 25 order.
He said the officials under the Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act of 1984 were the trustees of the offerings made by the devotees.
These funds were only to be utilised for providing better facilities and for the upkeep of the temple. The temple funds cannot be diverted and permitted to be used for any other purpose, said Justice Sharma.
Under the garb of management, he said, the temple and its affairs cannot be run like a governmental office.
In November last year, the high court had restrained the government from spending Baba Balak Nath Temple Trust funds for advertisements.
A division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D.C. Chaudhary had directed the chief secretary and the chief commissioner (temples) to issue directions that "god's money is not to be spent for advertisements about the temple or its activities".