Jagannath Temple Case: Top Court Asks Advocate To Assess Issues

The top court is dealing with a plea which has highlighted the difficulties faced by the devotees at Jagannath temple and their alleged harassment or exploitation by the "sevaks" (helpers) of the temple.

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Jagannath Temple Case: Top Court Asks Advocate To Assess Issues

Advocate says one of the major issues is lack of proper crowd management at the temple.


New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court today asked senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae in a matter related to administration of Jagannath temple in Puri, to visit the shrine to assess the ground reality there.

A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri said this after the counsel appearing for Odisha argued that the amicus should visit the temple and himself see the situation there.

When the bench asked Mr Kumar about it, he said he would visit the temple on February 22 and 23 and apprise the court.

The top court is dealing with a plea which has highlighted the difficulties faced by the devotees at Jagannath temple and their alleged harassment or exploitation by the "sevaks" (helpers) of the temple.

During the hearing, Mr Kumar said one of the major issues at the temple was lack of proper crowd management and absence of queue system for the devotees.

To this, the state counsel said as the architecture of the shrine is different it is not easy to have a "typical queue system" for the devotees there.

Referring to the architecture of the sanctum sanctorum, the counsel said, "The amicus can go there and see the situation. The problem which the state is facing today cannot be visible unless the amicus goes there and sees it himself. We are not opposing the queue system."

After Mr Kumar said he would go to the shrine, the bench asked the state to make all arrangements for his visit.

The bench also said that Puri's District Judge, who had earlier given a report to the court about administration of the shrine, and administrator of the temple to assist the amicus.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 27.

Mr Kumar referred to the interim report filed last year by the district judge in the top court which had raised the issue of alleged harassment of devotees by the "sevaks" of the temple.

"Despite all the recommendations, either the state or the administrator are not doing anything or they do not want to do this due to which visitors going there are harassed," the amicus told the bench.

Nine policemen were injured in the violence at Puri in October last year during a 12-hour bandh called by a socio-cultural organisation protesting the introduction of a queue system for devotees visiting the temple, police had said.



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