The High Court on Thursday directed demolition of the Pratihari Nijog office to free the Singhdwar or the Lion’s Gate (main entrance to the Lord Jagannath temple at Puri) as well as the Meghanad Pacheri (boundary wall of the temple) for renovation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The division bench of Chief Justice C Nagappan and Justice P Mohanty directed that the demolition should be carried out in such a manner that there should be a 10 ft gap between the main entrance gate as well as the boundary wall and the Nijog office.
The Nijog office, located along the boundary wall and the Singhdwar, was deemed to be an encroachment and was posing a threat to the main structure of the temple.
The temple administration in July last year had decided to demolish the office building as it was hindering the repair works being undertaken by the ASI on the Lion’s Gate and the boundary wall. But it had faced strong protests by the priests body, which had filed a petition in the High Court challenging the decision.
The Bench ordered that the ASI officials, Collector and SP of Puri should appear before the Chief Administrator of the temple on March 29 for demarcation of the length of the building that needs to be demolished.
The demolition can be carried out thereafter. Earlier, the Badachata Mutt and Chauni Mutt have been demolished in similar fashion on orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court to make way for the repair works by ASI.