Madurai, Feb 28 (PTI) The Madras High Court today directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department of Tamil Nadu to come up with alternative sites for the shopkeepers, who have been asked to vacate their shops inside and near the temple premises. Also Read - Tamil Nadu to Promote Class 9, 10 & 11 Students Without Exams | Here's How Students Will be Assessed

Granting an interim stay on the notices issued by various temple managements to the shop owners, Justice Bharathidasan directed the HR & CE officials not to clear the shops till March 16. Also Read - People Happy As Congress Rule Ended, Says PM Modi in Poll-Bound Puducherry | LIVE UPDATES

The judge passed the interim order on a batch of pleas filed by those who owned shops inside various shrine premises, including the Meenakshi temple, seeking a stay on the notices. Also Read - Video: Elephant Beaten Mercilessly by Mahouts in Tamil Nadu While it Cries in Pain, Sparks Outrage | Watch

The judge then posted the matter to March 16 to enable the HR & CE department to file the counter.

The judge asked officials as to what were the alternative arrangements (sites) for the shop-owners.

The shopkeepers were asked to vacate the premises of various shrines for security reasons and also, following a recent fire in the Meenakshi temple here that damaged a hall. PTI SSN BN RC RC

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.