Friday, June 20, 2014

Court In India Says State Government Must Enforce Ritual Decision of Temple Managing Committee

In Bhabani PR. Mishra v State, (Orissa High Ct., June 20, 2014), the High Court of the Indian state of Orissa held that the state government must abide by the decision of the Managing Committee of the Jagnnath Temple in maintaining law and order during Rath Yatra (Car Festival).  The Temple Managing Committee made a controversial decision that devotees are not permitted to climb on top of the chariots that carry the deities to the Shri Gundicha Temple. According to the Business Standard, the state government had found itself in the middle of a dispute between priests who wanted the tradition of devotees climbing on the chariots to continue, and the Managing Committee that wanted the tradition ended in conformity with the opinion of HH Shankaracharya, Puri.  The state government had appointed a high level committee to resolve the dispute, but now the state law minister says that the government will merely abide by the decision of the High Court.