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The Supreme Court on Monday (April 8) took a strong exception to the running and managing of religious places by government in India.

“Why Government Officials should be managing a temple. There have been thefts in Tamil Nadu temples, and what are the govt officials doing,” asked Justice S A Bobde sitting with Justice S Abdul Nazeer.

The bench’s observation came while dealing with a plea which has highlighted the difficulties faced by the devotees at the Jagannath temple and their alleged harassment or exploitation by the ‘sevaks’.

Earlier, on a petition filed by devotees who complained of hazards faced by visitors who come to prat at the temple, the apex court had asked former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to make a study and present a report. Amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar visited the temple and submitted a status report on the reforms at the temple after he held a series of meetings with the Gajapati Maharaja, the district judge, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, Jagannath Temple Managing Committee and the Chhattisa Nijog.

—India Legal Bureau

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