CUTTACK: Even as an intense political blame game is played out over bungling in Nabakalebara festival, the Orissa High Court on Friday issued notice to the State Government.
Acting on a writ petition filed by one Aswini Kumar Nayak of Cuttack appealing for restraining the parties from raking the issue for gaining political mileage, a division bench comprising Justice I Mohanty and Justice DP Chowdhury directed Chief Secretary and Chief Administrator of Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to file their responses.
The petitioner alleged that actions of different political parties to capitalise on the mistakes or human errors in performing the Nabakalebara rituals were bringing the State a bad name.
Petitioner counsel Satya Sundar Kanungo stated before the court that the statements of various political leaders have not only created disturbance but also caused stress on the general public and particularly the people involved in executing the rituals.
Indicating other aspects, the petitioner appealed to the court to direct all political parties to refrain from taking any political mileage from the issue till completion of Rath Yatra.
The bench also issued notice to the State Government and Puri Jagannath temple managing committee over accepting the opinion of Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati and inviting the seer along with his devotees to board the chariots and touch the deities during Rath Yatra this year.
The petitioner, Basant Kumar Behera, had challenged the managing committee’s decision stating that the temple Record of Rights did not prescribe any ritual to be performed by the Shankaracharya during Rath Yatra. Therefore allowing him atop the chariots along with six devotees while excluding heads of other Mutts and their disciples from the same privilege was unwarranted and illegal.
The issue of climbing chariots has been a subject of intense controversy with the seer boycotting the Rath Yatra festival last year after the administration prohibited his disciples to accompany him. This year, the temple managing committee decided to allow the disciples atop chariots and chairman Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb invited the Shankaracharya to participate in the Deba Snana Purnima and Rath Yatra.