Upkeep of Shri Jagannath Temple: Supreme Court issues additional directions

Supreme Court: While hearing the ongoing ‘Shri Jagannath Temple case’, the Bench comprising of A.K. Goel and S. Abdul Nazeer, JJ. made directions in addition to the previous order passed by the Court.

In its earlier order, the Court had directed the administrators of Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri and the Government of Odisha to take steps for the upkeep of the Temple. Pursuant to the directions, District Judge, Puri held meeting with the Chief Administrator of the Temple, the Collector and the Superintendent of Police, Puri along with other administrators of the Temple. The District Judge submitted a report in the Court wherein he made suggestions under various heads including, inter alia, proposed amendments to Sri Jagannath Temple Act 1954; abolition of hereditary sevaks; prohibition on collection of money for Annadan Atika by sevaks; ban on placing Thali and Pitches by sevaks; surveillance of collection from hundis; audit of temple funds by Accountant General; single Authority for security management; separate toilets for male and female; etc.

After perusing the material on record including the report of the District Judge, the Supreme Court reiterated the directions already issued in previous order and directed the compliance of the same. In addition to the previous directions, the Court made further directions that include, inter alia,

  • Acceptance of report of the District Judge.
  • Submission of report by the Committee constituted by State Government.
  • Constitution of Committee by the Central Government within two weeks.
  • Temple Management to consider regulatory measures regarding dress code, permission to every visitor to offer prayers irrespective of his/her faith, etc.
  • District Judges throughout India to examine such matters and send reports to concerned High Courts.

The matter is directed to be placed on 05-09-2018 for further proceedings before the appropriate bench. [Mrinalini Padhi v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 667, order dated 05-07-2018]

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