The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Front Government in Kerala reportedly got the Guruvayur Devaswom Board to transfer Rs Five crore from its fixed deposit to Chief Minister’s relief fund. This money should have been spent on temples that have been struggling to light the lamps. The Kerala High Court admitted Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the Guruvayoor Devaswom Board which manages the famous Sri Krishna Temple in Guruvayoor and its Chairman TB Mohandas. Questions have also been asked why the Kerala Government and the Chief Minister’s fund were not accepting money from other religious institutions. (1)
The petition said the act of Mohandas constituted a breach of his fiduciary duty towards the devotees of the temple and the Managing Committee was not authorized to spend money in contravention of the budgetary allocation. Therefore, the same act is liable to be struck down on account of being arbitrary and without any authority, the petition added.
However, the court said it will look into previous judgements to see whether the donation was in order. If found otherwise, the donation should be returned to the temple, the court said. “The court said it is a very serious issue,” said petitioner KSR Menon.
But, after the High Court of Karnataka questioned how the State Government can issue an order asking select temples to “compulsorily donate” specified amount from the temple funds to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, the Karnataka Government then issued a new notification indicating that the temples can make “voluntary donations” to the relief fund. The same decision may be expected from Kerala High Court. (2)
According to data published on FCRA website, Christian and Muslim religious organizations receive crores of rupees funds from western countries every year.
Christian organizations in Kerala
Total 1211 Christian organization are registered under Foreign Contribution Registration Act. The following table shows the year wise foreign funds to these Christian organizations.
On average, Christian organizations receives appx Rs 790 Cr every year through foreign funding. These funding are coming from western countries for missionary activities.
Muslim organizations in Kerala
Total 115 Muslim organizations are registered under Foreign Contribution Registration Act. The following table shows the year wise foreign funds to these Muslim organizations.
On average, Muslim organizations receives appx Rs 36 Cr every year through foreign funding. These funding are coming from Gulf countries for missionary activities.
According to 2011 Census of India figures, 54.73% of Kerala's population are Hindus, 26.56% are Muslims, 18.38% are Christians, and the remaining 0.33% follow other religions or have no religion. Muslims and Christians are constitutes to almost 50% of Kerala’s population. Though the crores of rupees receive by Muslim and Christian organizations every year, so far, Kerala Government has not requested to donate some amount during Coronavirus epidemic.
Kerala is the second State after Karnataka who askes Hindu institution to contribute to CM Relief Fund. However, so far, not a single Christian or Muslim organization contributes any amount to Kerala CM Relief Fund. Even no news reported regarding Christian or Muslim organization’s contribution to India’s PM Cares Fund from all over India.