PATNA: The Bihar government has directed all district magistrates (DMs) in the state to ensure that no sale or purchase of immovable assets, including land, belonging to registered temples and mutts takes place. DMs have also been instructed to ensure that details of immovable assets belonging to all registered temples and mutts are immediately provided to the Bihar state board of religious trust (BSBRT) so that it can be uploaded on the latter’s website.
The move comes after the BSBRT compiled data from 35 districts in the state, which revealed that there are around 2,512 unregistered temples or mutts in Bihar, owning more than 4,321.64 acres of land. Meanwhile, the total number of registered temples is around 2,499, owning more than 18,456 acres of land.
According to news agency PTI, the Bihar Law Minister, Shamim Ahmad, expressed concern over the existence of unregistered public temples, mutts and trusts, and urged them to register with the BSBRT. He warned that the state government will take strict action against those who indulge in the illegal sale or purchase of properties of registered temples, mutts, or trusts. Moreover, action will also be initiated against unregistered temples, mutts, trusts, and Dharamshalas that do not get themselves registered with the BSBRT.
According to the Minister, registration is mandatory to protect the properties, including land, of these registered/unregistered temples from unauthorized claims. Large-scale irregularities have been found where priests of such temples/mutts have been selling and buying immovable assets by becoming owners.
The state Law department’s latest data shows that the most number of unregistered temples and mutts are in Vaishali (438), followed by Kaimur Bhabhua (307), West Champaran (273), Bhagalpur (191), Begusarai (185), Saran (154), Gaya (152).
Around 813 acres of land are owned by 307 unregistered temples and mutts in Kaimur Bhabhua and 722 acres of land belong to 100 unregistered public temples and mutts in Khagaria districts. In Banka district around 332 acres of land belong to 78 unregistered temples and mutts.