Temple bill defeated in Karnataka Council, minister says will try again | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times

Karnataka temple bill defeated, undeterred Congress says will try again on Monday

ByNaheed Ataulla
Feb 24, 2024 12:12 PM IST

Temple Bill was defeated in Karnataka Legislative Council on Friday. Minister plans to reintroduce it in Assembly.

Bengaluru: The controversial Hindu Religious and Temple Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024, was defeated in the Karnataka Legislative Council on Friday evening. During the voting, 18 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) MLCs voted against the bill and seven only favoured it.

Karnataka minister R Ramalinga Reddy, who worked on the temple bill (HT)
Karnataka minister R Ramalinga Reddy, who worked on the temple bill (HT)

However, Muzrai department minister Ramalinga Reddy, who worked on the bill to benefit the interest of the poorer temples , remained undeterred by the defeat of the bill.

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“All is not lost. We will put it forth again in the Assembly on Monday,” he said while coming out of the Council. There were hardly any members in the treasury benches when the bill was put to vote at 8 pm, said those familiar with the development.

What is the Karnataka temple bill aim?

The bill seeks to help the 35,000 Hindu temples and their families with less income. It envisages increasing the burden revenue earning temples and passing the extra funds to temples with lesser income. The funds would be used to support the priests and their children for education and other needs.

But opposition leader in the Council, Kota Srinivasa Poojary said, the government needs to support the poorer temples with its own revenues and not out of the funds of the richer temples.

The bill mandates a 10% collection from temples with revenue exceeding 1 crore and 5% from temples with revenue between 10 lakh and 1 crore.

When the bill was piloted in the Legislative Assembly and passed, the opposition accused the government that the bill had been brought to shore up funds for the government’s guarantees schemes.

Leader of opposition in the House R Ashoka alleged that chief minister Siddaramaiah was “stealing from the collection boxes of the temples”. He said, government was looking to collect “10% commission from the income of the temples”.

There are around 35,000 temples under Muzrai department out of which 205, whose income exceeds 25 lakh per year are categorised in Group A, 193 with income between 5 lakh and 25 lakh are in Group B and around 34,000 temples with income below 5 lakh fall in Group C.

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