Outcry against nominees for Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams

Philanthropists, pontiffs be made board members, chiefs.

Tirupati: Following the sacking of Industrialist J. Sekhar Reddy from TTD board membership, there are demands from several quarters that no politician and industrialist should be nominated in future as TTD board member and only philanthropists and pontiffs of mutts be made board members and chairpersons. The present TTD board was appointed by the Chandrababu Naidu government on April 27, 2015, for a period of one year and its term was later extended for another year.

It consists of a chairman, 16 members and three ex-officio members. Several members in the trust board are MLAs, industrialists and leaders of various political parties. Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Trust Board constituted by the government under Section 96 of AP Charitable & Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act (1987). As per section 18 of the Act, a person shall be qualified for being appointed as a trustee of the board if he has faith in God, if he possesses good conduct, and reputation and commands respect in the locality in which the institution is situated, if he has contributed to construction, renovation or development of any institution or performance of any Utsavam or Ubhayam or any charitable cause, if he has sufficient time and interest to attend to the affairs of the institution and if he possesses any other merit.

But, successive governments for the last several decades have never been considering these qualifications to nominate persons for the trust board. Whichever party rules the state, its own party MPs or MLAs are mostly made chairman and members of the trust board. Some industrialists and politically influential people are also getting a place in the TTD board. So is the case with the present board too.

Swamy Paripoornanda of Sripeetham in Kakinada, talking to this newspaper, has demanded that government should not get involved in the management of any temple managed by the endowments department including TTD. The governments which have to protect secularism in the country is getting involved in the management affairs of Hindu temples, which is nothing but against the principles of secularism, he said.

“The government should nominate pontiffs of various Mutts of Shaiva, Vaishnava and Madhva communities and prominent spiritual leaders as trustees to the temples. There can be one representative from the government and the endowments department in the trust board. At present, all the trust boards of temples have been converted as political parties fiefdom, where there is no representation from spiritual personalities,” he pointed out.

The present board is constituted by the state government on April 27, 2015 for a one year period and its term was later extended for another year, with businessman-cum-politician Chadalawada Krishnamurthy as its chairman. The present board consists non MLA or MPs including J. Sekhar (Tamil Nadu), V. Krishna Murthy (Tamil Nadu), D.P. Ananta (Karnataka), A.V. Ramana (Hyderabad), E. Sulochana (Hyderabad), K. Raghavendra Rao (film director), S Ravi Narayana (Karnataka), Dr P. Hariprasad (Tirupati), G.Bhanuprakash Reddy(Tirupati), P. Sudhakar Yadav (Kadapa), and A. Narsa Reddy (former TD MLA from Telangana).

Chintala Ramachandra Reddy, BJP MLA from Telangana, is also functioning as special invitee for TTD board. Four MLAs of ruling TD-- K. Lalitha Kumari(Vizianagaram district), P. Ananthalakshmi (East Godavari), and D.S. Balaveeranjaney Swamy(Prakasam), and Sandra Venkata Veeraiah(Telangana) -- are functioning as board members. According to M. Gopal Reddy, a social activist, till now, all the TTD trust boards constituted by the successive governments were formed against the provisions of the endowments act. The government should follow the rules specified by the act before nominating anyone in the trust board, he said.

It may be recalled that, during the Congress government in year 2004, for the first time, it has nominated Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA) chairman as ex-officio member of TTD Trust board. B. Karunakar Reddy and Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy functioned as ex-officio members, they being TUDA chairman at different periods. But, later the Congress government itself cancelled this provision.

Earlier, the state government has terminated G. Sayanna, TDP MLA from Telangana, after he shifted his loyalties to TRS, on the ground that he did not attend the meetings of the TTD board consecutively for three times. In Sekhar Reddy's case, this is the second incident where the government has sacked a member from TTD trust board.

As per Section 19 of the endowments act, the government can sack any member if he has been sentenced by a criminal court for an offence involving moral turpitude, such sentence not having been reversed or if he has acted against the interests of the institution or endowment.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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