Litigation News

[COVID-19 Lockdown] In what manner can financial assistance be extended to Archakas? Karnataka HC asks state govt

Rintu Mariam Biju

In an order passed yesterday, the Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to consider extending financial assistance to Archakas (priests) who cannot be paid a regular salary as temples remain shut owing to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Court passed the above direction while dealing with a plea praying for monetary aid to Archakas and temple servants of 'C' category temples in the state, as they were the most affected during the lockdown.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice P Krishna Bhat held,

"The State Government will have to consider in what manner help can be extended to Archaks who cannot be paid regular salary as there is no income to the temples of ‘C’ category in the present situation."

Karnataka High Court

Additional Advocate General appearing for the state informed the Bench that each temple in the ‘C’ category is entitled to a yearly grant of Rs 48,000. The first instalment of Rs 12,000 has already been ordered to be released in line with the Court's previous order dated May 20.

Adding on, he apprised the Court that the other amounts were also being released to all category ‘C’ temples on the basis of the Court's previous order.

Counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that in some areas, rations in the form of Archak Kits were distributed to needy Archakas.

On this aspect, the AAG clarified that that 14,000 Archak Kits have been distributed in total.

Taking this contention into account, the Court asked the state government to place on record whether Archak Kits could be supplied to all Archakas working in category ‘C’ temples.

Last week, the Karnataka High Court had issued notice in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking monetary relief for Archakas and temple servants amid the COVID-19 Lockdown.

The matter will next be heard on June 3.

Read order here

Karnataka HC order - Archaks.pdf
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