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Sanatana Dharma Followers Seek Vacation Of Supreme Court Order Permitting Non-Hindus To Participate In Auction For Shop Leases In Temple

Shruti Kakkar
7 Jan 2022 11:03 AM GMT
Sanatana Dharma Followers Seek Vacation Of Supreme Court Order Permitting Non-Hindus To Participate In Auction For Shop Leases In Temple
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Four applicants, who say that they are followers of Sanatan Hindu Dharm, have approached Supreme Court seeking vacation of the Top Court's interim order dated January 27, 2020 and December 17, 2021 wherein the Top Court had permitted people from all religions to participate in the process of auction of leases of shops in the Sri Bramaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple at Kurnool Andhra Pradesh...

Four applicants, who say that they are followers of Sanatan Hindu Dharm, have approached Supreme Court seeking vacation of the Top Court's interim order dated January 27, 2020 and December 17, 2021 wherein the Top Court had permitted people from all religions to participate in the process of auction of leases of shops in the Sri Bramaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple at Kurnool Andhra Pradesh and in the shopping complex.

The interim order dated December 17, 2021 was passed by the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna while hearing a contempt petition filed in the SLP where the top court had in January, 2020 stayed the September, 2019 judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court ("impugned judgement").

In the order dated January 27, 2020 the Top Court while issuing notice in the SLP had stayed High Court's impugned judgement.

In the impugned judgement, the High Court had dismissed the writ petition to declare the 2015 G.O.Ms issued by the state of Andhra Pradesh prohibiting non-Hindus in participation of tender - cum - auction process of shops or otherwise to obtain lease or license to carry on business in immovable property belonging to the temple, as violative of Articles 14 and 15.

The impugned notification had incorporated Rule 4 (2) and Rule 18 of A.P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Immovable Properties and Other Rights (other than Agricultural Lands) Leases and Licenses Rules, 2003 prohibiting non-Hindus in participation of tender - cum - auction process of shops or to obtain lease or license to carry on business in immovable property belonging to respondent No.3 - temple.

It has been argued in the application that the effect of the interim order granted by the Top Court would be that the applicants and other devotees would be compelled to face the prejudicial attitude of non-Hindu tenants/ shopkeepers.

Followers of Sanatan Hindu Dharm who are devotees of Lord Shiva and Shakti have further averred that they would be deprived of opportunities to offer Bhog, Prasad etc according to their belief and custom and their right to worship will be seriously affected.

"The applicants have every right to purchase the articles of offering from the persons of their choice which may satisfy their religious feelings. In the course of their worship, the applicants purchase the articles of offering including milk, fruits and other materials from the members belonging to Hindu community and they have reservations in offering those articles from non-Hindus namely Muslims and Christians. The Hindu devotees have every right to offer Bhog, Prasad etc. to the deity according to their religious practice and belief," the application states.

It has further been contended that the devotees have the right to purchase/collect the object of worship from the shops/persons of their choice who believe in the authority of Lord Mallikarjun and have sentiments in preparing such articles maintaining the cleanliness and purity as required in traditional pooja.

Followers Of Sanatan Hindu Dharm Seek Impleadment In SLP Against High Court's Order

Seeking impleadment in the SLP, the devotees have argued that non-Hindus do not respect the sentiments of Hindu worshippers and have no hesitation to have meat including beef which are alien to Hindu belief and religious practices.

"The right to worship guaranteed under Article 25 cannot be eroded by the principles of secularism and the same cannot be pressed in the matter of belief, faith and worship practice by Hindus according to their Vedas, Shastras and other scriptures. The Hindus have the right to follow their Orthodox religious practices. The procedure of worship starts from purchasing the material for offerings sweets, milks, fruits etc. The practice of performing pooja and worship cannot be interfered with by the State in any manner. The devotees have every right to avoid the interference of non-Hindus in their pooja and worship," application states.

Relying on Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, it has been stated in the application that as per the provisions it is clear that the worshippers have right to manage affairs relating to religious practice to be observed in the temple.

The application(s) has been drawn and settled by Advocate Hari Shankar Jain and has been filed by Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain.

Case Title: TMD Rafi and Ors v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors| SLP 1989 of 2020

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