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Odisha Srimandir reforms: SC to reappoint amicus curiae soon

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New Delhi: After senior lawyer, Gopal Subramanium stepped down as the amicus curiae, the Supreme Court will reappoint to the post over reforms in Puri Jagannath Temple in Odisha.

While deferring the Srimandir reforms hearing to the second week of January 2019, the apex court today accepted the Subramanium’s withdrawal request as the amicus curiae.

On June 6 this year, the SC had appointed Gopal Subramanium in the matter concerning the reform measures in the centuries-old Srimandir. He was asked to make field visits and submit a report after taking opinions of all the stakeholders for final adjudication of the case.

Following his appointment, he had visited Srimandir, had discussions with Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Nischalananda Saraswati, officials of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and servitors over the suggestions made by the apex court for temple reforms.

However, he urged the SC Registrar on Nov 25 over his withdrawal as the amicus curiae.

Notably, the apex court, hearing a petition filed by one Mrinalini Padhi highlighting difficulties faced by devotees at the Jagannath Temple and their harassment or exploitation by the servitors, had on June 8 asked the Puri District Judge to furnish a report on factual aspects of (a) Difficulties faced by the visitors, (b) Exploitative practices, if any, (c) Deficiencies in the management, if any, and (d) Suggestions, if any.

The District Judge, Puri in a report submitted to the Supreme Court had made several suggestions for reforms in Srimandir. In the report, it was suggested to abolish hereditary Sevaks and prohibit the placing of Thalis and pitchers by the temple servitors to receive offering.

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