Supreme Court sets up retired Judge led Committee to manage Gokarna temple | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday appointed a committee headed by former apex court Judge BN Srikrishna to manage the ancient Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka till it decided the Ramachnadrapura Mutt’s right to manage the Dakshin Kashi temple.
The management of one of the most famous Shiva temples in India had been mired in dispute since 2003 when the state government brought it under the purview of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997.
Ramachnadrapura Mutt claimed that the temple is attached to the Mutt and represented to the government to delete it from the notification.
The government 2008 deleted it from the list of temples in August 2008.
But, the devotees and former trustees questioned the deletion by filing a PIL in the Karnataka HC.
The HC quashed the deletion, appointed a managing committee for the temple till the question of its link with Mutt was determined by a trial court in a civil suit. The Mutt challenged it before the SC.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde, and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian took a prima facie view that the Tehsildar had not appreciated evidence as per the 1997 Act while deciding to allow the Mutt to administer the affairs of the Gokarna temple.
“However, prima facie for the present, a perusal of the consideration made from the initiation of the proceedings by the Tehsildar on February 20, 2008, would indicate that the determination of the status is not based on the evidence or material relied upon in that regard. The Tehsildar, on the other hand, has based the conclusion to recommend the entrustment of the administration of the temple to the ‘Mutt’ in view of the overall improvement and also the opinion expressed by the President of Gram Panchayat, Gokarna which would not be sufficient to satisfy the requirement of the 1997 Act,” it said.
The bench said, “the appropriate course in the interest of the temple as well as the devotees as also the ‘Mutt’ would be to allow the administration of the temple by an independent committee so that the temple is administered in an appropriate manner for the benefit of all devotees until a final determination is made.”
The SC said while the ‘Overseeing Committee‘ will be headed by Justice Srikrishna, it would include Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Uttara Kannada district, Assistant Commission of Kumta Sub-Division, two eminent persons/scholars to be nominated by the state government and two ‘Upadivantas’ of Gokarna temple to be nominated by deputy commissioner in consultation with the state government.
SC said the exercise to nominate persons to the overseeing committee would be completed within 15 days and thereafter it would take over the management of the temple from the Ramachandrapura Mutt and ensure adherence to all temple traditions.

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