New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court today reiterated its earlier direction of non-acceptance of offerings/donations by servitors at the Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri.
Hearing a petition filed by one Mrinalini Padhi highlighting difficulties faced by devotees at the temple and their harassment or exploitation by the servitors, the apex court had on June 8 directed the temple administrator to “ensure that no direct collection of the offerings is made by any Sevaks and all the offerings either in hundi or are deposited and accounted for and properly utilized.” The servitors may be given their due remuneration as per rules, the SC had said.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had then asked the servitors not to receive offerings/donations by devotees as per the direction of the Supreme Court.
The apex court, while hearing the petition today, also directed for posting of a report submitted by the District Judge, Puri on the websites of the court, SJTA and Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
The District Judge was earlier asked by the court to furnish a report by June 30 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 SC also gave a proposal for dress code of the servitors and directed to update the temple website within two weeks.
Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramanium has been asked by the court to visit Puri and hold discussion with all stakeholders after Ratha Jatra and submit a report before the next hearing which will be held on September 5.