Supreme Court: In the petition highlighting the erosion of the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlingam, Ujjain due to the religious offerings, the bench of Arun Mishra and UU Lalit, J held that the Court cannot dictate or prescribe or restrain the religious practices and Pujas to be performed in temple as they are required to be performed in accordance with the ancient rituals and practices, however, at the same time, it has to be ensured that no damage is caused to the lingam.

The Court, hence, directed that in order to prevent further erosion of Lingam, a should be prepared Plan by the Temple Committee and other stakeholders within reasonable time, regarding the entire offering materials on the lingam to be manufactured and provided by temple itself as is done in several famous temples in the Southern part of India and other places. The Court said:

“By pouring the adulterated Milk, Ghee, Kumkum, Gulal, Abir containing chemicals due to adulteration is improper and cannot be permitted to be part of the ritual. Lingam cannot be permitted to be destroyed by chemical reactions of impure materials or by pouring of the dirty water such acts of offerings cannot be allowed and as are done innocently by the people unaware of ill effect on lingam.”

Regarding the practice of offering of Bhang (Cannabis), the Court said that it is for the Temple Committee to decide on these rituals and which material to be used by it and in which quantity for purpose of Puja by Temple and for how much time, in what manner Bhang should be applied and in what rituals.  The Court also asked the Temple Committee to invite and consider various views for further improvement of the temple.

Noticing that the Mritunjaya Mahadev temple is most ancient Jyotirlingam in one of the ancient cities of India, Ujjain & ‘Simhast’ is also organised 6 years and 12 years which has international importance visited by several millions of people on which thousands of crores of rupees is spent by the Government,  the Court said:

“Puja   is   to be   performed   in   such   a   manner   which   should   be befitting to the deity and not to cause erosion itself of lingam for which so   much   infrastructure   exists.   Lingam   is   known   as ‘Mrityunjaya Mahadev’, who prevents from destruction, it cannot be permitted to be destructed.”

[Sarika v. Administrator, Shri Mahakaleshwar Mandir Committee, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 490, decided on 02.05.2018]

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