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SC Raises Concerns About Appointments Based on Political Affliction in Temple Administration

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SUPREME COURT LAW INSIDER

Khushi Bajpai

Published on: September 27, 2022 at 18:58 IST

The Supreme Court highlighted the necessity for setting forth the rules for clear norms and parameters in the nomination of trustees or members of administrative committees on Monday, raising worries over political meddling in the administration of temples and shrines across the nation.

A Special Leave Petition filed against a recent decision of the Bombay High Court (Aurangabad Bench) which set aside the appointment of the managing committee of the Sai Baba Shirdi Trust after observing that party workers and politicians were illegally accommodated in the committee was being heard by a bench made up of Justice Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar.

MLA Ashutosh Kale, who served as chair of the committee that was dismissed by the high court, filed the special leave petition.

The bench rejected the petitioners’ requests for a stay of the high court rulings.

The bench highlighted the passages in the high court ruling that demonstrated how each member of the management committee had political ties or associations.

They were either state legislators, municipal council presidents, or unsuccessful candidates in the elections for local governments.

Justice Rastogi stated, “Governments come and go after elections, but what is crucial are the interests of the devotees.”

“The judge emphasized the need to avoid political involvement and the necessity of appointing individuals from various disciplines who are renowned for their moral character and integrity in order to safeguard the interests of the followers.”

After hearing the parties, the bench issued notice on the petitions, after observing that directions are needed to streamline the process of appointment of members in relation to the management of temples and shrines.