KARNATAKA HINDU RELIGIOUS BILL 2024 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     29th February 2024        

Context: The Karnataka government's attempt to tweak the law that governs taxation of Hindu temples was last week stymied in the Legislative Council, where the primary Opposition holds a majority.

Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024

  • About: The Bill was meant to amend multiple provisions in the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997.
  • Provisions of the Bill

oGovernment's Rationalization: The government argues that the bill aims to redistribute revenues from temples with higher earnings to those with lower earnings for equitable distribution and upkeep.

oOpposition: The opposition vehemently opposes the bill, branding it as "anti-Hindu" and a tactic to seize temple revenues.

oTemple Revenue Classification: Temples are categorized into Grade A, B, and C based on their earnings, with Grade A temples earning more than Rs 25 lakh, Grade B between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 25 lakh, and Grade C below Rs 5 lakh.

oCurrent Allocation Scheme: Presently, the government is permitted to allocate 5% of Grade B revenues and 10% of Grade A revenues to Grade C temples for their maintenance.

oNew Mandates: The proposed legislation mandates muzrai temples earning over Rs 1 crore annually to contribute 10% of their income to a common pool (Dharmik Parishad), and shrines with revenues between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore to contribute 5%, with the funds being redistributed among Grade C temples.