HC blow to SJTA on Nabajauban darshan

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court today banned people from entering the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri to have the ‘Nabajauban Darshan’ of the sibling deities on Friday except the required sevaks and sevayats.

A division bench of Justices Indrajit Mahanti and D P Choudhury passed the order as an interim measure while adjudicating over a PIL on the controversial order of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

SJTA had last month decided to ban public darshan of the deities inside the temple except the sevaks, sevayats and their family members.

The bench also ordered the state government to provide adequate security around the temple on the day to ensure the orders of the High Court are properly implemented.

“The High Court also ordered installation of CCTVs at the entry and exit points of the temple on Friday and the footages of the same should be deposited in the Court for scrutiny”, the petitioner’s counsel Ashok Mohapatra said.

SJTA’S decision was challenged in the High Court by the petitioner stating that the devotees could not be deprived of an age-old tradition and practice.

The state government had, however, in an affidavit endorsed the decision of SJTA saying the same ritual was also banned during the 1996 Nabakalebar Rath Yatra after the disturbances were witnessed in 1977 Nabakalebar Rath Yatra.

SJTA on Monday came up with yet another controversial announcement saying that along with the servitors, their family members and some VIPs would be allowed inside the temple to have the Nabajauban Darshan.

This was, however, vehemently opposed by the petitioner advocate in the Court, following which the division bench passed the interim order giving a jolt to SJTA.