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Indic Collective @indiccollective
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1. The Supreme Court's Bench of Justices Shri Adarsh Goel and Shri Ashok Bhushan took up the Jagannath Puri Temple Petition W.P (C) No. 649/2018
2. After hearing the Petitioner, the amicus and other Respondents, the Bench heard the arguing counsel for the @indiccollective, Mr. @jsaideepak.
3. On behalf of the @indiccollective, Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that there are two aspects of Temple administration, religious and secular, both involving the fundamental rights of religious denominations under Article 26.
4. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted to the Court that the directions passed by the Court must take into account such rights since there is a thin red line that separates the secular aspects from the religious when it comes religious institutions
5. The Court assured that it did not intend to affect the religious aspects of administration in a manner which is detrimental to rights under Article 26
6. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that since there are already several legislations, especially in South, which govern the administration of temples, the directions of the Court must be consistent with such legislations since it could otherwise create confusion in running of temples
7. The Court observed that its directions will be consistent with existing laws, including such legislations.
8. Mr. @jsaideepak also brought to the Court's attention the pending challenge to the HRCE legislations of TN, AP and Puducherry to make the point that these legislations have facilitated State entrenchment in Temples
9. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that to address the issues relating to HRCE legislations, it would help to seek the assistance of the Law Commission to look into the grievances of various stakeholders
10. To this, the Court observed that the Central Government has been directed to form a committee to precisely address these grievances and that all stakeholders can make representations to the Committee which will be constituted by the Union Government
11. The Court also observed that religious institutions are also immense cultural significance. To this, Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that the Union Ministry of Culture ought to take a proactive interest in addressing the grievances of stakeholders with respect to Temple management
12. The Court accordingly directed that the Ministry of Culture will participate in the process to take stock of stakeholder grievances
13. Mr. @jsaideepak sought the permission of the Court on behalf of the @indiccollective to assist the Amicus and the Committee to be formed by the Central Government with inputs on various aspects of Temple management.
14. The Amicus Mr. Gopal Subramanium agreed to it and the Counsel for the Union too has agreed to take inputs from all stakeholders
15. Mr. @jsaideepak further sought the permission of the Court to file a note of submissions on various aspects of Temple Management to the Court. The Court has granted permission to file the same on the next date of hearing which is September 5,2018
16. Mr. @jsaideepak also submitted that order of June 8,2018 passed by SC does not limit itself to only Hindu Religious Institutions as evidenced from language of the order. Accordingly, the scope of directions must be interpreted to apply to religious institutions of all faiths.
17. The Court clarified expressly that its original directions were indeed applicable to religious institutions of all faiths and expressly clarified it once more.
18. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that in light of several judgements passed by SC on Article 26 especially Chidambaram Temple judgement of 2014, scope of intervention by State under Article 25(2) is limited to regulation/restriction to curb mischief & not to take over administration
19. The Court observed that it was cognizant of the said position and that its directions would be consistent with the said directions
20. Mr. @jsaideepak finally submitted that the directions passed by the Court on June 8,2018 ought not to be interpreted by the authorities to curb the right of devotees to offer Dakshina to Sevaks at the Jagannath Puri Temple.
21. @jsaideepak submitted that devotees have a right to offer such Dakshinas which is distinct from the contributions made to the Temple hundi
22. The Court agreed with the said distinction and observed that its directions do not prevent devotees from offering Dakshina to Sevaks at the Jagannath Puri Temple
23. The Amicus Mr. Gopal Subramanium too clarified that he agreed with the distinction between Dakshinas offered to Sevaks and contributions made to Temple Hundi
24. Apart from the above directions and clarifications, the Court has directed that the report of the District Judge with respect to the Jagannath Puri Temple be made available on the website of the Ministry of Culture for public consumption and stakeholder inputs
25. The Court has also directed that the Report of the District Judge will be available on the website of the Supreme Court for two weeks
26. Further, any devotee of any religious institution who has a grievance with the manner of administration can approach the appropriate District Judge under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure
27. The District Judge shall look into the matter and submit the report to the High Court of the State, which will receive it on the judicial side.
28. The Court has also directed the Amicus and the Union to consider allowing people of all faiths into religious institutions to pay respects to the deities subject to them filing an affidavit that they respect the tradition and will observe the rules
29. The Court has clarified that this is a mere suggestion for the Amicus and the Union to consider after taking stakeholder inputs.
30. The Union has been directed to form its Committee within two weeks and submit its interim report on all the above by August 31,2018
31. The next date in the petition is September 5, 2018.
32. Here is the link to the copy of today's order -…
33. The alternative link to the order passed today in the Jagannath Puri case can be found here
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