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Online crowd funding not a healthy way of collecting donations for temple renovation: Madras High Court in YouTuber Karthik Gopinath’s case

The State government, however, told the court that it had already sent written directions to Gopinath and Milaap to deposit the entire amount collected before the trial court.

Gopinath, however, urged the Court to allow the money to go to the cause that it was collected for. 

But the Court said that it first wanted the money to be securely deposited before the lower court, before hearing the matter further and decide what was to be done with it.

Gopinath had filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court earlier this year seeking a direction to the HR&CE Commissioner to recognise him as a valid donor and permit the transfer of ₹30.77 lakh that he collected in October last year through crowdfunding for restoring the damaged idols of the Periyasamy Hills Temple at Siruvachur in Perambalur district in Tamil Nadu.

On October 10 last year, Gopinath uploaded a video on his YouTube channel asking for donations for restoring the idols and within the next three days, he raised a sum of over rupees 33 lakh through Milaap. 

Soon after, the police registered a criminal case against him on the basis of a complaint lodged by the Executive Officer of Mathurakaliamman Temple at Siruvachur.

On Monday, Gopinath brought along a list of all the donors and said that 2,057 people had contributed for the temple renovation work.

The HR&CE, however, argued that the money had been “sitting” with Milaap for months now and 80 percent of the renovation work at the temple has already been completed. It said that it did not wish to accept the money collected by Gopinath.

“We need to pay for such renovation work. And another donor has already come forward volunteering to bear the costs,” HR&CE said.

The Court noted that the money had been lying with Milaap since October this year and the State should not allow the same.

“Now the temple does not want this money. This is money collected from the public. It can not stay in his (Gopinath’s) hands. What is worrying me really is why is the prosecution not taking steps to secure this public money?” the single-judge said. 

Source: Barandbench

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