Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Supreme Court to hear petition seeking halt on construction work going on at Lord Jagannath temple tomorrow

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear the special leave petition tomorrow, seeking direction to Odisha government to stop the ‘illegal’ excavation and construction work being carried out at Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, in order to protect the heritage of Lord Jagannath.

The order was passed by a Bench comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Hima Kohli.

The Apex Court also issued notice to Amicus Curiae in the case and also the State Counsel, Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar.

The SLP was filed by Advocate Gautam Das. It contended that the State agencies have been working in gross violation of Section 20A of The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

It challenged the ‘illegal’ action of the Government of Odisha in not following the procedure laid down in the 1958 Act and the Ancient Monument & Archaeological Sites and Remains (amendment and validation) Act 2010, in relation to Shree Jagannath temple.

The petition alleged that the Government of Odisha was doing unauthorised construction work, which posed serious threat to the structure of the ancient temple of Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath.

the petition contended that Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, has been declared a monument of AMASR Act, 1958 through Gazette Notification 3rd Feb 1975 and under Section 19(1) of the AMASR Act, no person including the owner occupier can construct any building within the protected area.

It has been argued that Section 20A of AMASR Act is clear about the fact that there cannot be any construction within the 100 meter distance of the prohibited area, it added.

The SLP said the state government was trying to make construction by excavating more than 30 feet deep from the ground level, with the help of heavy excavators, exactly adjacent to the western side of Meghanad Pacheri, which was an integral part of the Temple.

It further alleged that cracks have been found in the temple and its walls.

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