Use of RTI to get the idols restored to temple
Three idols of the temple of Sri Gopalasamy Temple situated on a hillock in Ayyan Paraipatti, a village close to T. Kallupatti on the Madurai-Rajapalayam highway were stolen on April 14, 1992. The thieves took away a metal crown, a pedestal, kumbam and other articles. The T. Kallupatti police had registered a case and arrested five individuals who were sentenced to five to seven years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.1,000 by a Fast Track Court. The Court directed that the idols and other articles should be handed over to the Collector either before the lapse of the limitation period for preferring appeal or after the disposal of the appeal if the convicts happened to prefer any. The trial court judgment was set aside by the High Court and all the five accused were acquitted on February 21, 2007. However, the articles continued to be in the property room of the district court and no efforts were made to restore them to their original place.
A devotee filed different applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to the Collector and the Principal District and Sessions Judge to know the status of the idols. Upon the filing of the RTI application, steps were initiated for the handing over of the idols. Now, hearing a public Interest Litigation (PIL), a Division Bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice G.M. Akbar Ali of Madras High Court has directed the Madurai Collector to take steps for restoring a local temple’s idols.