SC Refuses To Initiate Contempt Proceedings Over Demolition of Mutt Associated With Guru Nanak

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to initiate contempt proceedings over demolition of a mutt associated with Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev in Puri, Odisha.

The petitioners, represented by a senior counsel, argued the demolition was in violation of a judicial order.

The bench headed by Justice M R Shah, said it was dismissing the plea as there was no “disobediece”.

“We don’t want to initiate contempt proceedings. We are dismissing it. We see no reason to initiate contempt proceedings,” said the bench, also comprising Justice C T Ravikumar.

The petitioners submitted that in 2019, the top court had passed an order recording that while clearing the area in the vicinity of the Jagannath Temple, the authorities would ensure that the deities, samadhi of the mutt, its relics etc would not be disturbed and remain at their current place with better beautification in line with Kalinga style of architecture.

The petitioners claimed the demolition of the premises, which Guru Nanak visited over 500 years ago, took place in spite of the undertaking given by the authorities.

The authorities had in 2019 told the apex court that the area near Jagannath Temple needed to be cleared to avoid any stampede, incidents of fire and to take care of emergencies as well as security and safety of the devotees.

In December 2019, protests were held over the demolition of the Sikh mutt complex in Puri.

Scores of Sikh community members had taken out a march in Bhubaneswar to protest against state government’s decision to carry out the demolition of three mutt complexes, prominent among them being the Mangu Mutt which was said to have been visited by Guru Nanak Dev.

The two-storey complex, constructed over 100 years ago, was declared unsafe by the Puri administration a decade ago. It also housed a hotel, nine shops and a restaurant.

The mutt was among many structures within the 75 metre radius of the Jagannath temple that were proposed to be demolished to ensure safety and security of the 12th century shrine, following a decision of the Odisha government in 2019.

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