HC asks Industries Dept. to consider application by Palani temple

Temple administration says its panchamirtham unit is not a factory

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the State government to consider an application made by Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple authorities seeking exemption for the temple’s panchamirtham production unit from getting registered under the provisions of the Factories Act.

Justice R. Suresh Kumar directed the Industries Department to consider the application that was made in 2019 by the temple authorities seeking exemption from the purview of the Factories Act under Section 86 (Power to exempt public institutions). The matter should be decided within eight weeks, the judge said.

The Joint Commissioner/ Executive Officer of the temple filed the petition before the court in 2019. The temple challenged the notice issued by the Deputy Director, Industrial Safety and Health, asking the temple to apply under the provisions of the Factories Act to get the registration and permission to run the unit.

Operating the unit without getting the permission from or registration with the authorities concerned would be treated as an offence under various provisions of the Factories Act, it said. Aggrieved over the notice, the temple EO filed the petition before the High Court. During the pendency of the petition, the temple administration applied for exemption.

The temple authorities said the panchamirtham production unit did not come within the meaning of factories as it was not a commercial establishment. Panchamirtham was not prepared for commercial purposes but to meet the demand from devotees. The cost of production of panchamirtham was more than its selling price, the temple said.

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