NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday asked as to why should government officials manage religious places and temples in the country while taking note of the fact that several devotees visiting the Jagannath temple in Puri were being harassed.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer observed this while hearing a plea which has highlighted difficulties faced by the devotees at Jagannath temple and their alleged harassment and exploitation by the ‘sevaks’ (staff).
“It is a matter of perspective. I do not know why government officials should manage temples?,” Justice Bobde observed during the hearing.
“In Tamil Nadu, there is theft of idols. These idols, apart from the religious sentiments, are priceless,” the bench said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told the apex court that Kerala’s Sabarimala temple was being run by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) while board appointed by governments were managing several other temples in the country.
“How far the government, in a secular state, can control or manage a temple,” Venugopal said.