Team  SoOLEGAL

One Of The Major Factor for the Determination of Private/Public Character Of The Temple Is Participation Of Public In Daily Temple Rituals: SC

Team SoOLEGAL 28 Feb 2019 12:43pm

One Of The Major Factor for the Determination of Private/Public Character Of The Temple Is Participation Of Public In Daily Temple Rituals: SC

It has been recently observed by the Supreme Court of India that public members must participate in the Darshan in the temple and in the daily acts of worship or in the celebrations because this is one of the major factors to consider in determining the public/private character of the temple.

As in this case, in Indore a suit has been filed by Pujaris of Ram Mandir for a declaration that state must not interfare in the management, pooja-archana and in the possession of the agricultural land as it is a private Mandir and state has no right to do so. Pujaris of Ram Mandir had also requested a decree of injunction against the state officials. Though the trial court had decreed the suit, the first appellate court set it aside. It has been confirmed by the High Court that the findings of the first appellate court holding that the suit property is recorded in the name of Deity and Ram Das and Bajrang Das were recorded only as pujaris and the name of pujari kept on changing and these pujaris do not belong to one family and there is no blood relation between those persons.

It has been observed by the Apex Court in the appeal filed by the plaintiff that they have submitted any evidence regarding who constructed the temple and how did he get all the funds for the construction of the temple. The Court also observed that, the entry of Shri Ram Mandir as the public temple in the register is a strong piece of evidence to hold that Shri Ram Mandir is a public temple. The 2 judge bench took the example of the case of Tilkayat Shri Govindlalji Maharaj Etc. v. State of Rajasthan and stated that:

"The participation of the members of the public in the Darshan in the temple and in the daily acts of worship or in the celebrations may be a very important factor to consider in determining the character of the temple. In the present case, the appellant has not adduced any evidence to show that there is restricted participation of the public for darshan."

The court also accepted the findings of High Court that the pujariship is not hereditary therefore the temple cannot be held to be a private temple. The bench further added:

"If the temple was a private temple, the succession would have been hereditary and would be governed by the principles of Hindu succession i.e. by blood, marriage and adoption. In the case in hand, succession is admittedly governed by Guru-shishya relationship. Each pujari is not having blood relation with his predecessor pujari"

The court also noted that the plaintiffs were appointed the pujari of the temple by the Government, and thus are estopped from contending that Shri Ram Mandir is a private temple. Another aspect noted by the bench against the plaintiffs was that the Mandir property was taken on lease from the Government.


Tagged: Rammandir   pujaris   supremecourt   participation   public/privatetemple   darshan  
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