Karnataka HC asks govt to reconsider order on Baba Budangiri

Says it is violation of rights of both Hindu and Muslim communities

Published: 29th September 2021 06:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2021 06:09 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday quashed an order passed by the state government in 2018, authorising only the Muzawar appointed by Shah Khadri to perform daily rituals at the sanctum sanctorum of the Sree Dattatreya Bababudan Swamy Dargah (Baba Budangiri shrine) at Chikkamagaluru. 

The government order had prescribed religious practices and worship to be followed to distribute ‘teertha’ to both Hindus and Muslims. The Muzawar was also required to offer flowers to the paduka and light nandadeepa.  

Till now, Hindu priests are alllowed to offer pooja only during the Datta Jayanti celebration. Pro-Hindu outfits, including VHP, Bajrang Dal and Sri Guru Dattatreya Peeta Devasthana Samvardhana Samithi, have been  demanding appointment of a permanent Hindu priest to the Peeta for several years. The court remitted the matter to the state government with a direction to reconsider the order in accordance with law without referring to the report by a high-level committee. 

Allowing a petition filed by the Sri Guru Dattatreya Peeta Devasthana Samvardhana Samithi, Justice PS Dinesh Kumar quashed the government order dated March 19, 2018, saying it is unsustainable in law. 

“The Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees Freedom of Conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. By the impugned order, the State has infringed upon the right of Hindu community to have the pooja and archana done in the manner as per their faith. Secondly, the State imposed upon the Mujawar to perform ‘paduka pooja’ and to light ‘nanda deepa’ contrary to his faith. Both these acts amount to flagrant violation of rights of both communities guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution,” the court said.  

It also noted that the endowment commissioner had gathered versions of a large number of devotees, which demonstrated that both Hindus and Muslims were worshipping as per their respective customs. But the State chose to accept the high-level committee’s recommendations, while rejecting the endowment commissioner’s report.

The petitioner moved the court against the order and sought directions to the government to implement the endowment commissioner’s report dated March 10, 2010. This report was submitted before the Supreme Court suggesting that a Hindu archak be appointed to perform daily poojas. In response, the state government appointed the high-level committee consisting of a former judge of the high court.


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