Jagannatha Temple: SC Directs Odisha Govt to File Status Report on Compliance of Its 2019 Direction

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Odisha government to file a detailed status report on compliance of its direction issued in 2019 for management of Shree Jagannatha Temple at Puri in Odisha.

A bench of Justice M R Shah and Justice C T Ravikumar passed the order after taking note of the submission by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, that no status report has been filed after the top court’s November 4, 2019 order.

The top court also noted that a full time administrator has not been appointed for managing the affairs of the ancient temple at Puri.

“As of today, we are not aware which directions are complied with and which are not. Let a detailed status report on compliance on various directions issued by this court be submitted within a period of four weeks from today. A copy of the report be given to the amicus in advance,” the bench said.

The apex court will hear the matter on May 1.

The top court in 2019 had directed the Odisha government to depute a chief administrator for managing the affairs of the ancient Shree Jagannatha Temple and passed a slew of directions for enabling peaceful ‘darshan’ by devotees and providing amenities for them.

It had also directed the Temple Managing Committee to allot a suitable place for school for children of servitors for their proper education as may be considered necessary.

It had said, however, that allowing every visitor, irrespective of faith, will be subject to regulatory measures regarding dress code and giving an appropriate declaration.

The apex court had also directed the temple administration, including the state government, to prepare a roadmap with the help of experts for having proper darshan by the devotees/pilgrims.

The court’s order had come on a petition filed by Mrinalini Padhi highlighting the difficulties faced by devotees at the Jagannath Temple and their alleged harassment or exploitation by the ‘sevaks’ (staff) of the temple.

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