HC Asks Govt to ‘Efficiently’ Regulate Temples in J&K

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Srinagar—Amid allegation and counter allegations of alienation of a temple property at Abiguzar here, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday asked government to regulate temples and their properties in the state. 

Dismissing a petition filed by one ParmeshwarGiri, a single bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan observed that there should have been an Act, rules and regulations for proper control, efficient management and regulations of the property(ies) of the temples of the State .

“This Court will not restrict itself within the fours of pleadings brought by parties before this Court because sensitiveness is involved in the matter. It is not home affair of present parties. It is the property of Temple, about which they have come before this Court. Allegations and counter allegations have been levelled against each other. Alienation of Temple property is alleged. Alienation by sale, lease etcetera, is vituperated,” the court said wile dismissing the petition.

 “It is not known how and under whose instructions or for that matter under which authority and competence they, the Mahants/Managers of Temples, venture to enter into such activities, by which they alienate, sell or lease the property(ies) of Temple(s). Do such Mahants/Managers are or have been authorised and empowered to do such acts and activities,” the court said, questioning whether Mahants or Managers of temple, have been appointed by any authority.

“It is pertinent to mention here that there should have been an Act, Rules and Regulations madethereunder,to provide for proper control, efficient management and regulations of the property(ies) of the Temples of the J&K State and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. There should be an administration to administer, manage and regulate Temple(s) and Temple Property(ies), so as to preserve and protect such Temple(s) and/or Temple(s) property(ies),” the court said.

There should be full-fledged organisation to make appointment(s) of Mahant(s), Manager(s), Chela(s) or any other person(s) required to be appointed, hired or engaged for maintenance and management of Temple(s)and its property(ies) and regulate their services in the same manner as is being regulated and governed in other organisation(s), the court said.

“Appointment(s) should be made only after verification of antecedents of person(s), proposed to be appointed for Temple(s) or Temple(s) Property(ies) and in the event of any dereliction of duty(ies), such person(s) should be put to task and shown door with punishment on the edifice of such Rules and Regulations. The said exercise can be undertaken by the J&K State Government on the lines of the Jammu and Kashmir Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act, 1988, and Rules, Byelaws made thereunder and like Acts,” the court said, adding that the observations are aimed at to save the Temple(s) and Temple(s) properties and its management to be in the hands of safe person(s).

The court directed registry to send copy of the order to the Chief Secretary, J&K State, for taking appropriate steps in view of the observations.

The court made the observations while dismissing plea against order dated 9th October 2013, passed by City Munsiff, Srinagar  on a suit titled ParmeshwarGiri v. Suresh Sharma, with petitioner seeking to decree petitioner’s suit, filed by him before the Trial Court, in terms of compromise arrived at between parties.

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