ILNS: The Supreme Court on Monday handed over the management of the Gokarna Mahabaleshwar temple to an oversight committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice B.N. Srikrishna, to manage the affairs of the Gokarna temple in Uttara Kannada, Karnataka.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian said the Committee will take over the management of the temple from the Ramachandrapura Math in 15 days.
As its members, the Justice Srikrishna Committee will have the Deputy Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police of Uttara Kannada, Assistant Commissioner of Kumta division, two eminent scholars and two Upadhibhaktas of the Ramachandrapura Math, which had moved the apex court, challenging a Karnataka High Court order.
The Supreme Court also remarked that the committee shall function, adhering to all temple customs and traditions.
The Ramachandrapura Math had filed a Special Leave Petition against an order of the Karnataka High Court, which had constituted an overseeing committee and handed over the temple’s management to the said committee, instead of the Math.
It contended that the Math, said to have been established in 8th century AD, has been controlling and administering the Gokarna Temple since time immemorial, as evidenced by several edicts, historical references and documents.
The petition said the Karnataka government has denotified ‘the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997,’ therefore, it will not apply on the Gokarna temple and the management should be given back to them.
The Object of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 is
“to regulate improper alienation or disposal of property belonging to a notified or declared institution by nullifying unlawful transfers and providing for expeditious eviction of unauthorised occupants of property belonging to such institutions”.
When this act came into force, the management of Gokarna’s Mahabaleshwar Temple was taken away by the state government, as the temple was notified in the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997.