TDB May Get Enhanced Term Strength

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   (2012-07-16 00:00:00)

Major amendments have been proposed to the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act to enhance the tenure and strength of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and restrict the voting rights for selecting members of the board to Hindu MLAs who have taken oath in the name of God.

The proposed amendments, in effect, will deprive the Hindu MLAs of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) who have taken the oath otherwise of the right to participate in the voting for electing Board members.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Sunday that the amendment had been mooted on the premise that the Hindu MLAs who did not profess faith in God and temple worship need not be given the right to elect members who were bound to take crucial decisions on managing the 1,208 temples which came under its purview.

But this proposal is seen as an attempt of the United Democratic Front (UDF) to elect its nominees to the Board.

Going by the strength of the Hindu MLAs in the Assembly, the LDF can manage to get its nominees elected under the present Act. This in effect will prove to be a setback to the UDF. If the LDF wrests control of the Board, it can pave the way for frequent conflicts between the Board and the government.

Increase in members

It has been proposed to increase the number of members from the current three to five and their tenure from two to four years. Since the Board has been constituted under the provisions of the Act, the government has to pilot a Bill in the Assembly for making any major amendments to the Act.

The amendment suggested for increasing the Board strength is feared to jack up the administrative expenses of the Board, already reeling under a financial crisis and will not make any qualitative change in the administration.

The previous LDF government has proposed to increase the strength to nine and incorporate provisions for the government to take corrective steps and reverse the decisions of the Board which it deemed improper and against the interests of the Board.

But such proposals were shot down and the Board continues to be an autonomous body. The amendments are being fine-tuned and the draft will be placed for public discussion soon, sources said.