Pradeep Pattanayak

In a major development, the Orissa High Court on Tuesday directed the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to file an affidavit regarding the reopening of Ratna Bhandar (treasure trove) of the shrine.

Also Read: Govt to decide on Ratna Bhandar reopening: Amicus Curiae

The State's apex court has asked the SJTA to submit the affidavit mentioning how long the Ratna Bhandar was not opened and why. 

A bench comprising Chief Justice S Muralidhar passed the order while hearing a petition seeking to take stock of the properties and valuables inside the Ratna Bhandar of Lord Jagannath temple in Puri

"The court would like to direct the temple administration to file an affidavit in this regard. The affidavit is to be filed within four weeks," the CJ said.

The court has set January 5 for the next hearing.

During today's hearing, the amicus curiae submitted his report in connection with the current status of Jagamohan and Nata Mandir before the High Court. In his report, he mentioned that necessary repair works have not been carried out. He directed the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to complete its work by March 31, 2023. 

Also Read: Srimandir Ratna Bhandar's reopening demand grows Louder

Notably, the issue of Ratna Bhandar reopening has been hugging headlines time and again. Last time it was in the news when Shri Jagannath Managing Committee member and Padma Shri recipient renowned sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik’s proposal to discuss on the issue at the managing committee meeting was allegedly turned down. 

At the meeting, Patnaik wished to know the present status of the Ratna Bhandar, its repair work and reopening. But his proposal was technically sidelined, saying the matter was not in the agenda.  

After the meeting, journalists wanted to know about the status of the Ratna Bhandar, but Chief Administrator of the temple Vir Vikram Yadav parried the questions.