Apex court issues notices on Kalighat temple entry (Lead)May 15th, 2012 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notices to the central and West Bengal governments on a petition that devotees be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Kolkata-based Kalighat temple to pay obeisance to the deity.
An apex court vacation bench of Justice Deepak Verma and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay issued the notice after it was told that devotees were not allowed to enter the temple’s sanctum sanctorum following an order of the Calcutta High Court.
The petition has been moved by the Kalighat Temple Committee which has challenged the high court’s interim order of April 20, 2012, completely banning the entry of devotees, including VVIPs and VIPs, in the sanctum sanctorum and allowing only two “pujaris (priests)” at a time.
The high court had directed that the temple committee would put, on the notice board, the names of the pujaris and their duty hours according to their duty roster.
Counsel for the Kalighat Temple Committee, Rana Mukherjee told the court that the ban on the entry of devotees was posing a law and order problem.
The petition said that the committee has a strong prima facie case and would suffer an irreparable loss if the interim order of the high court was not stayed.
The high court had passed its order after hearing a public suit seeking directions to the temple committee to ensure that the temple in general and the sanctum sanctorum in particular is kept in a clean state.
The suit also sought direction that the devotees should not be allowed to throw flowers at the idol and the sanctum sanctorum should not be littered with any kind of material, including flowers.
The high court directed the temple committee to make necessary arrangements so that all the offerings made by the devotees were credited in the account of the temple and not appropriated by the pujaris.
The high court was told that devotees and visitors were often cheated by people posing as pujaris and pandas who were indulging in extortion and there were lots of incidents of thefts.
Assailing the order restricting the devotees from entering the sanctum sanctorum, the petition said that the interim order did not take into account the “religious sentiments and emotions of the public at large” as the Kalighat temple houses the “sacred deity of the Sree Kalimata Thakurani”, which is an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus from all over the country.
The petition by the Kalighat Temple Committee contended that such a restriction was the violation of the fundamental rights of the devotees.
The petition contended that the high court could not have passed any order beyond the prayer seeking direction for the cleanliness of the sanctum sanctorum and for security arrangements in the premises.
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Tags: apex, apex court, calcutta high court, deepak verma, deity, devotees, duty roster, irreparable loss, kalighat temple, law and order, mukhopadhyay, necessary arrangements, obeisance, pandas, priests, prima facie case, rana, sanctum sanctorum, vips, west bengal