Despite the Portuguese rule and widespread vandalism, many old temples have survived in Goa.
But the places of worship are no longer the private property of Mahajans.
A ruling by the State Information Commission says that records of all the temples in the state will now come under the purview of RTI. Which means public can now access these records.
â€œAfter listening to all the arguments, we decided that they are public authorities & they have to give information from the records maintained by them. Government has got absolute control over them by the legislation made by the state government and they have to appoint public information officers as well as first appellate authorities,â€ said State Chief Information Commissioner A Venkatraman.
The verdict refers to the Devasthan Regulations Act constituted by Portuguese, which is still in force in the state.
According to this Act the government is empowered to interfere in the functioning of the temples if required.
But the Mahajans in the state are not happy with the ruling. They are citing the Portugese Act to defend their position.
â€œGoan temples are governed by the cozides-de-mazadias act which was formed in 1933 during Portuguese regime. This act is yet to amended. In the absence of amendment it is owned by the Mahajans as their privet property,â€ said Mangirish Raikar, a Mahajan.
The Devasthan Act was constituted by Portuguese to keep check on anti-Portuguese activities, which generally started from the temples.
But in present times, this act has become a major tool in bringing transparency in all accounts of all temples across the state.