New Delhi: A two-judge bench of Supreme Court comprising Justice Adarsh Goel and Justice Ashok Bhushan ordered Friday the Puri district judge to submit a report on the alleged issues of mismanagement of Srimandir and harassment of devotees by sevaks.
The court in its order has asked the district judge to submit the report by June 30 about issues relating to difficulties faced by visitors, exploitative practices if any, deficiencies in the management of temple affairs and other suggestions the district judge may have.
The top court said all devotees should have hassle-free visits. It also directed the Odisha government to study the management processes in other important shrines such as Vaishno Devi, Somnath Temple, Golden Temple and Tirupati Temple.
A writ petition filed earlier in the SC by Mrinalini Padhi had complained about alleged harassment of visitors by the sevaks, unhygienic environment in and around Srimandir and encroachments near the famous 12th century temple. The plea also complained about mismanagement of the temple affairs and commercialisation of rituals.
The apex court in its order said, “The administrator may also ensure that no direct collection of the offerings is made by any Sevaks and all the offerings are deposited and accounted for and properly utilised. To ensure this, the help of CCTV cameras and its footage or other steps may be explored.” It also pointed out that the remunerations of sevaks should be looked after by the authorities concerned.
The SC bench has also said CCTV coverage and its scrutiny should be done by an independent panel and the report given to the district judge in Puri every month.
The petitioner had also pointed out that the environment of the temple was not hygienic as it ought to be, and there are encroachments at its premises. The bench sought responses from the Centre, the Odisha government and the temple’s management committee and said the issue raised in the petition involves enforcement of fundamental rights under Article 25 and directive principles of the Constitution.
Guv wants truth
Bhubaneswar: Expressing concern over the sentimental issue, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, who himself is a great devotee of Lord Jagannath, has sought to know the truth behind the missing keys of Ratna Bhandar of Jagannath temple. In a press statement, the Governor said he is eager to know the facts behind the alleged missing of keys of treasury Ratna Bhandar. He described the whole incident as ‘unfortunate’, and asked the concerned authorities to disclose details.