Settle standoff between servitors and temple administration amicably: HC to Govt, SJTA

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Cuttack: Coming down heavily on the State Government and the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the Orissa High Court on Thursday clarified that the court had at no point of time interfered with the ongoing rituals of the deities of the temple.

The court also made it clear that currently the limited point before it for adjudication is timely completion of the ongoing repair works and preservation of the 12th Century shrine by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Expressing displeasure over the continuing disturbances in the performances of temple rituals and deprival of Mahaprasad to the devotees due to an “uncalled-for” standoff between the servitors and temple administration, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Vineet Saran said the State Government and the SJTA should immediately settle the issue amicably after holding discussions with the stakeholders.

“About the High Court’s order passed on April 10 pertaining to restrictions of entry of servitors and devotees into the sanctum sanctorum (Garvagruha) of the temple, the court said that the relevant portion of its order was misinterpreted by the temple administration,” informed senior advocate Dr Ashok Mohapatra, who is the petitioner-lawyer in this case. The devotees visiting the temple for last four days are deprived of Mahaprasad.

Sharing the observations made by the court, Mohapatra said the SJTA had informed the court that one of the recommendations made in an interim report of the Justice BP Das Commission pertaining to the entry of devotees and servitors into the Garvagruha was accepted by the Government and it was ordered for implementation. The court had only reproduced the relevant portion of the report in its April 10 order, Mohapatra said, quoting the Division Bench.

Accepting an intervening petition filed by the Suar and Mahasuar Nijog (a group of temple servitors) and an affidavit filed by the SJTA, the Division Bench posted the matter to be taken up again next week, Mohapatra informed.

 

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