The Madras High Court on Friday permitted the Kanchi Mutt to operate its bank accounts frozen by Tamil Nadu police in connection with Sankararaman murder case.
Justice K P Sivasubramanian issued the ruling while allowing a writ petition filed by a manager of the mutt, S Mahadevan, to restrain the state government and police from interfering with the mutt's right to manage and administer its affairs, including its bank accounts.
"Religious organisations cannot be paralysed or closed down virtually by freezing their accounts only for the reason that the head of the organisation and a few office-bearers are alleged to be involved in some offences," the judge held.
Referring to the freezing of 183 accounts of the mutt under section 102 of the criminal procedure code, the judge said Parliament had restricted the power under the section to 'specific and narrow limits'.
He said deposits could be brought under the section provided the deposits represented either stolen money or was connected with the commission of any offence.
"In short, there must be a nexus to the crime alleged and the money to be seized", the judge said.
He directed the mutt to submit a statement of all its bank accounts to the special investigation team probing the murder case, once a month, till completion of the trial.