Pervasive State Control On Temples: An Administrative Furore?


  • virendra Ashiya Chiku National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
  • Nandini Ravishankar Dr. Vishwanath Karad MIT World Peace University, Pune, Maharashtra, India



It all started with the eviction proceedings of a practicing advocate who was a tenant on the premises of the temple owned by the royal family of Travancore. The action of the executive officer who tried to oust the practicing advocate from the land on which he was a tenant was challenged. The predisposition of the tenant was that the executive officer himself lacked the authority to exercise powers by holding his office. In addition to that, the person vide whom he was appointed under hand and seal lacked the authority to do so since his authority in office was questioned. This spiked the fire of the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple dispute which not only underscores pervasive state control but also speaks volumes of the pseudo-secularism in the exercise of administrative privileges present in the country. The action of a religious community to agree to the state control over its religious institutions on the condition prevailing that, the state shall hold the authority to take care of funds and management of transactions but not the religious activities of the Institution is a drowning Armada sure to sink. This is because the community is oblivious to the fact that investment in secularism starts with transactions undertaken and monetary power conferred. That the religious institution be governed by a secular body in addition to which the latter be vested with the power to make appointments of significant position holders to the religious institution goes against the very spirit of the provisions of the constitution. The right of a religious community to administer its religious institution which is not secular, perhaps essentially religious is an Essential Religious Practice or at least significant for carrying out its Essential Religious Practices. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple Verdict of the Apex Court, by taking into consideration the intricacies of the Covenant and interpretation of its clauses has accurately differentiated between the right of the state to supervise and the unwritten privilege enjoyed by it to control and administer. This paper focuses on:

Evolution of essential religious practice and its applicability to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple issue;

In-depth analysis of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple vis-a-vis the Kerala High Court judgment;

Shedding light on inspiring factors of the verdict: The Shirur Math Judgment and Chidambaram Temple Verdict that propelled as clarion calls for self-governance of religious institutions;

Highlighting how rampant and essential the judgment is for the community in the light of the Hindu Religious Endowment Board Act, 1951 and the reignited hope in the Judiciary along with constitutional provisions reinstated by it.

Author Biography

virendra Ashiya Chiku, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.







How to Cite

Chiku, virendra A. ., & Ravishankar, N. . (2023). Pervasive State Control On Temples: An Administrative Furore?. DME Journal of Law, 4(02), 48–58.



Research Article