Ujjain: Supreme Court of India has accepted the plea filed against irregularities in working of Mahakal Temple Management Committee (MTMC) on Friday.
Sarika Guru, a social activist from the city had moved to the apex court after a double bench of Indore high court ordered a stay on her petition. The Supreme Court while accepting the plea, also issued a show cause notice to the president and administrator of MTMC, divisional commissioner and principal secretary, religious and endowment trust of Madhya Pradesh. The date of hearing for the same is scheduled for July 8, 2017.
In 2013, Sarika Guru filed a petition in Indore high court citing several irregularities in the management of the temple, which operates under Mahakal temple act, 1982. The petitioner raised objections against the practice of giving 35 per cent of donations to priests from the donation-box placed in Garbh-Grah, which has no provision in 1982 act. She also contested providing 75 per cent of the ‘abhishek’ receipt to the priests and priests appointing their representatives in the temple, which were not permitted by the temple act.
The petitioner in her arguement presented documents of the illegal appointment of priests in the temple. She cited MTMC answered an RTI query confirming that all the appointments of priests except one, from the year 1960 to present time, in the temple are illegal without meeting the criteria. No corrigendum was released in news papers for the appointment of the priests. Only one priest, Jairaj Choubey, out of 38 has been appointed following the legal procedure by MTMC.
Indore high court gave the judgment in favour of the petitioner and ordered MTMC to stop the practices that violate the temple act. This judgement was again challenged by MTMC in Indore high court where a two bench judgement came in favour of the committee and a stay was ordered. Now, with Supreme Court accepting the plea a new hope is dawned in the fight against all the irregularities in management of Mahakal temple, said Sarika Guru.
‘Priests with criminal past appointed by MTMC’
According to the petitioner, a priest, Gaurav Joshi has been involved in criminal activities and was tried in district court of Ujjain. He currently provides his priests services to 36 temples including ‘Juna’ Mahakal on Mahakal temple premises. The criminal status of the said priest is known to the president of MTMC, but no action has been taken yet to end his services.