NEW DELHI: THE Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed senior advocate and former solicitor general Ranjit Kumar as amicus curiae to assist it in matters related to administration of Jagannath temple in Puri.
The apex court had on November 30 last year accepted the request of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium to relieve him as amicus curiae in the matter. During the hearing, the bench, headed by Justice A K Sikri, requested Kumar, who was present in the court, whether he would assist it as an amicus curiae in the case.
Kumar agreed with the bench, which then posted the hearing on February 5. The court also made it clear that all other applications filed by other stake-holders in the matter would also be considered on the next date.
Nine policemen were injured in the violence at Puri during 12-hour bandh called by a socio-cultural organisation protesting the introduction of queue system for devotees visiting the temple, police had said.
On June 6 last year, the court had appointed Subramanium as amicus curiae to assist it in the matter in which a plea was filed highlighting the difficulties faced by the devotees at Jagannath temple and their alleged harassment or exploitation by the ‘sevaks’ of the temple. On October 10, the apex court had said that no policeman should enter Jagannath temple “with weapons and shoes” after it was alleged before it that during the October 3 violence at the shrine, cops had entered there with boots and guns.
This was denied by Odisha Government.In July last year, the top court had directed the Jagannath temple management to consider allowing every visitor, irrespective of faith, to offer prayers to the deity. However, it had said that it would be subject to regulatory measures regarding dress code and giving an appropriate declaration.