The Madras High Court held that the law of adverse possession or the law of limitation would not be applicable against the Deity or Idol in the case of Temple land.

Sundara Varadharaja Perumal Temple (Temple) had filed a petition before the High Court to restore the patta and other revenue entries of the land in the name of the Temple.

A Single Bench of Justice P. Velmurugan observed, “It is settled proposition of law that if the land belongs to Idol/Deity, no person can alienate or create encumbrance unless due process of law. In this case, property of the Temple or person incharge of the Temple had not transferred the property. Only during the Town Survey, the land was recorded as Sarkar Poramboke.

The Judgment pronounced by the High Court on February 9 was uploaded recently. Advocate M.Ramamoorthi represented the petitioner, while SGP A.Selvendran appeared for the respondents.

The Temple had made a representation addressed to the District Collector stating that the classification of the land was wrongly entered during the computerization of the land in the land Records.

The Temple had contended that the land in question had been in possession of the temple since 1775 AD for 240 years. They further argued that the patta land was wrongly classified as “Sarkar Poramboke land” in the Town Survey Land Register (TSLR).

In response, the government submitted that the subject land being recorded as “poramboke” was published in 1998 under Section 13 of the Tamil Nadu Boundaries Act, 1923. The government argued that the petitioner had delayed in challenging the classification.

Meanwhile, the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) had planned a corridor alignment through the disputed land, which the Temple opposed arguing that “the CMRL has wrongly considered the land…as a Government land.

The CMRL submitted that the government had acquired the land in question for the Metro Rail Project which was far away from the Deity/Temple. They stated that the project would also not disturb the Deity and hence, the writ petition should be dismissed as against CMRL.

The Court held that adverse possession or the law of limitation would not be applicable against temple land.

Therefore, the Court directed the government officials to consider the representations of the petitioner. Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the petition.

Cause Title: Arulmigu Sundara Varadharaja Perumal Temple v. The Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Land Administration & Ors.


Petitioner: M.Ramamoorthi

Respondents: SGP A.Selvendran; Advocates Rita Chandrasekar and Aditya Chandramouli

Click here to read/download the Order