‘Our order dated 03.10.2018 is unambiguously clear that the status quo as on 07.09.2018 should be maintained by the parties.’
Last week, the Supreme Court asked the State of Karnataka to hand over the administration of Gokarna temple back to Ramachnadrapura Math, for now.
The Karnataka High Court had quashed the decision taken by the state government in the year 2008 to hand over Gokarna Temple to Ramachandrapura Mutt holding that the same was not for a bona fide purpose but to confer a benefit on the mutt. The high court had also constituted an “overseeing committee”.
Against this verdict, the Math had approached the apex court and the CJI-headed bench had observed that the interim order passed by the high court after pronouncement of the final judgment shall continue, in the meantime.
The bench again clarified the said order in a later order on 3rd October 2018. It had said: “Since we have clarified that this Court actually intended in the order dated 07.09.2018 that the parties should maintain status quo as on that date i.e. 07.09.2018 forthwith. The order dated 18.09.2018 passed by the Government will stand recalled.”
As the government did not hand over the charge back to the Math, they filed a contempt petition. The bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph, on 1st November, passed this order.
“Our order dated 03.10.2018 is unambiguously clear that the status quo as on 07.09.2018 should be maintained by the parties. Taking over of the charge is on 19.09.2018, though the same is pursuant to orders passed earlier. Since the Court has made it clear that the status quo as on 07.09.2018 should be maintained, there is nothing further to clarify.”
Directing the state to hand over charge to the Math before 5th November, the bench said: “There is no question of the Executive Officer continuing since the Executive Officer had not taken charge as on 07.09.2018. In case anything is kept with the Executive Officer, he will return the same in terms of our order dated 03.10.2018.”
The court then listed contempt petitions after four weeks.