Judge orders new elections for Surrey Hindu temple

SURREY — There will be a court-ordered election at Surrey’s largest Hindu temple on Sunday, after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled members were wrongly terminated in 2012.

The Vedic Hindu Cultural Society near Bear Creek Park in Surrey has been torn by internal power struggles and court battles for years. Leaders have battled over society finances and accounting, and traded accusations of gender discrimination and defamation, according to court documents.

Some in the temple community hope that elections on Sunday – in which hundreds of lifetime members that were banned by temple leaders in 2012 will be eligible to vote and run for the temple’s board and council – will lead to a new period of reconciliation.

In February 2014, in B.C. Supreme Court, Madam Justice Carol J. Ross ruled that new fees which had been retroactively imposed on lifetime members in 2012 were improper, and that even if these fees could be required, the society could not ban members over the fee issue.

The judge ordered members reinstated, and a new election held in 2014.

It is not the first time B.C.’s courts have had to step into the temple’s politics. In 2009, a B.C. Supreme Court judge found that a petitioner’s "slate" of candidates had been improperly disqualified from running, and ordered that an election be held, court records say.

Among some of the reinstated members, there are fears that on Sunday some people’s voting rights may not be respected.

The election will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 8321-140th Street, Surrey.

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