Bhubaneswar: The Orissa High Court today directed the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to open Jagamohan of Srimandir in Puri by April 16. The next hearing on the matter has been postponed to April 19.The Jagamohan is out of bounds for the devotees for over two years now.
A Division Bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Vineet Saran gave the order after summoning an administrative officer of the SJTA to the court hall. “Open the Jagamohan to the devotees positively by April 16, or else stringent legal actions will be initiated against the temple administration,” the court said to SJTA Ritual Administrator Pradeep Kumar Dash, who had beeen ordered to appear in person in the court.
Earlier, Dash in a fresh affidavit had urged the court to allow the temple administration to open the Jagamohan to the public on August 1 on account of the ensuing annual Rath Yatra falling in the last week of July. Taking strong exceptions to the stand of the temple administration, a fuming High Court Bench ordered its counsel to ensure that the deponent Dash appear in the court in person within two hours.
It was following the intervention of Advocate General Surya Prasad Mishra, who assured the court that the State Government would ensure the court’s order is duly complied with, the Bench ordered to open the Jagamohan by April 16 and asked the temple administration to inform the court in an affidavit on April 19 stating as to how the court’s order had been carried out. Notably, the Jagamohan has been closed to devotees since January 2016 when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took up the structure’s repair works. After completing the works, the ASI had informed the High Court on March 16 that the Jagamohan was now safe for devotees. But since then, the temple administration was taking a plea or the other in delaying its use by devotees.