New Delhi: The Supreme Court, as per its July 5 order, has uploaded the full report of the Puri District Judge on the apex court’s website which consists of a number of recommendations for revamping the Puri Jagannath temple administration.
As per the 405-page report, recently submitted by the Puri District Judge to a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Mrunalini Padhi Vs Union of India case, some sections of the Sri Jagannath Temple Act, 1954, are needed to be amended to bring adequate reforms in the Srimandir temple affairs.
The report claimed that while the servitors were prohibited as per the SC order to take direct donations from the visitors, practice of taking donations on thalis and in pitchers still continues as the servitors claim their rights to donations are secured through the Act. The report bats for amending this particular section which empowers the servitors for direct donation.
The Puri judge report also calls for bringing required amendments in the legislation to ensure that any collection of money, jewellery or other donations as received directly by servitors or others in the temple without the knowledge of the temple administration should be made a criminal punishable offence.
The Puri judge claimed that for making the report as per the directions of the Supreme Court, he consulted the public, servitors, bar councils, religious organisations, all nijogs, temple administration, local administration and others before giving his recommendations.
The report said that the public had complained about harassment/misbehaviour by some servitors during the worshippers’ visit to the temple when it comes to collection of donations from them.
Meanwhile, the servitors insisted on their legal rights to collect donations from the visitors. The public also told the Puri District Judge about cases of pandas inducing them to offer bhogs at multiple sites inside the temple. There were also complaints about the disbursement of prasad and its quality.
In the report, the Puri judge said that the temple administration has no control over the quality and price of the prasad disbursed at Ananda Bazar. It has argued that the temple administration should take over the control of the kitchen. In its suggestions, the report said that a proper crowd management is needed for a hassle free darshan, including the provision of five separate queues — two for general, and one each for women, senior citizens and physically challenged.
The report also questioned the donations for Annandan Atika and Kalapata and recommended the abolition of auctioning of Rohini Kunda.
It also offered other suggestions like provision of separate toilets, surveillance of Hundi collection, ID cards for Sevaks, guide registration for the temple and others.