Bangalore: The state government’s decision to bring category B and C temples under the purview of the RTI and appoint information officers for the purpose, could change the way temples in the state are administered.
According to the heads of various temples, at present, the RTI is used to extract information about how poojas are performed, how the rituals are celebrated, the process of appointing priests, their qualification, income and expenditure.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, an officer of the religious endowments department said that it was the state information commission that brought the temples under the ambit of the RTI. “But until now, only category A temples such as Kukke, Kateel, Savadatti Yellamma etc has information officers. Henceforth, even category B and C temples, which were governed locally, will have information officers,” he said.
According to a gazette notification issued by the department, temple administrative heads will be the public information officers (PIOs). While opening temples to public scrutiny will be a good thing, it will have its own challenges. “Every temple has its own unique tradition and system.”
“Till now they were continued without any external obstruction and government intervention. Bringing temples under the ambit of the RTI may throw up several challenges,” said a source familiar with temple managements.
“At present, RTI applications filed with A category temples are mostly about alleged irregularities. But category B and C temples have some unique features,” he said. There are also some doubts about whether designating officers of the administration itself to be PIOs will serve the purpose.
“There are objections to making the administrative officials information officers as they may not give correct information. But temples are accountable to the public and this is the right step,” the source added