No ‘jagran’ in Kalkaji Mandir without permission: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has ordered that no “jagran” or a similar event without its permission shall be held in the Kalkaji mandir where a 45-year-old woman died recently when a stage set up for a religious function collapsed.

Justice Prathiba M Singh observed that the temple is under the full management and control of an administrator appointed by the high court and its premises is for the use of the public and no individual or entity can exercise exclusive control on any part of it.

“No jagran shall be held or any other similar events would be permitted in the Kalkaji mandir. If any organisation wishes to hold any jagran or similar religious programme, such organisation may approach the court for seeking permission by way of an application,” the judge said in a recent order.

“The learned administrator having been appointed and given full management and control, any event that has to be organised would require permission. Without the same, no programme shall be organised within the mandir precincts,” the court said.

In the order, the court took into account the “recent unfortunate jagran incident” that occurred in the intervening night of January 27 and 28 and sought a status report in relation to the probe, which is to be conducted expeditiously.

The event was organised without the administrator’s authorisation.

The 45-year-old woman died and 17 people were injured during the “jagran” (religious function), which was organised at the Mahant Parishar of the temple. Around 1,600 people attended the event.

“The SHO, Kalkaji submits that an FIR has been registered in respect of the incident. Let the investigation be conducted in an expeditious manner and a status report placed by the next date of hearing before the court, stating as to who were the persons responsible for the incident,” the court ordered.

It added that several societies are claiming to be operating from the Kalkaji mandir premises in the name of the temple and those cannot be allowed to “function in this manner for holding programmes in the precincts of the mandir, without the permission of the learned administrator”.

“The entire management, control and administration of Shri Kalkaji Mandir has to be only under the supervision of the learned administrator and not under the control of any other person, society or entity,” the court said.

“The premises of the Kalkaji Mandir is for the use by the public and no individual or entity can exercise exclusive control on any part of the said premises,” it said.

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The court, in the order, also asked the administrator to take steps for the revival of the Shri Kalkaji Mandir Prabandhak Sudhar Committee, which can recruit volunteers for crowd management.

“All steps shall be taken to ensure that there is proper crowd management at the mandir premises,” the court said as it sought a report in this regard.

The court’s order came on batch of pleas on the issue of civic amenities and cleanliness in and around the Kalkaji temple complex.

In 2021, Justice Singh appointed retired high court judge J R Midha as the administrator of the temple for performing various functions in relation to the religious place.

It had also directed removal of encroachments and unauthorised occupants and shopkeepers, who did not have any valid legal right to occupy the shops, and appointed Goonmeet Singh Chauhan, a renowned architect who has undertaken various projects of public importance, to submit a re-development plan for the temple and the entire surrounding complex.

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