Cites his tweets against Govt. and accuses him of scoring private and political interests
The Uttarakhand Government on Wednesday justified the takeover of 51 temples including Kedarnath and Badrinath in High Court in a petition filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and also expressed displeasure at Swamy’s tweets against the takeover of the temple. Asking for rejection of Subramanian Swamy’s petition, the BJP-ruled Uttarakhand Government claimed that the takeover of the temple was necessary due to natural calamities and to have transparent conduct of Char Dham pilgrimage in future. However, in the 21-page affidavit, the Government did not challenge the main contentions of Subramanian Swamy and the Supreme Court’s landmark verdict against the Nataraja Temple takeover and Government interference on the affairs of temples.
The Uttarakhand High Court’s Bench consisting of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe in February issued notice to the Government on Swamy’s petition against the new Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act. On May 28, the High Court directed the State Government to reply by June 11. Interestingly, the Government’s 21-page reply filed before the High Court consists of seven pages of Swamy’s series of tweets against the temples’ take over and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat becoming the Chairman of the Temple Board.
After devoting several pages on Swamy’s tweeting and apprehensions against Swamy’s displeasure on the Act, Government said that due to the natural disaster in 2013 felt the need for the restructuring of administrative arrangements for the good conduct of Char Dham Yatra management.
In many areas in the affidavit, the BJP ruled the Government claimed that Swamy’s petition will not come under the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) category and did rue Swamy’s tweets. “That it is relevant to point out here that the petitioner (Subramanian Swamy) after enactment of the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019 did several tweets and in his tweets, he has stated that Act is wholly mischievous, unconstitutional and against the ideology of Hindutva. Not only this, in one of his Tweet he started that before the enactment of the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019 the Advocate General of Uttarakhand should have consulted him.
“It can be reasonably presumed that the petitioner has filed the present PIL being annoyed that the Learned Advocate General of the State has not consulted him before the Act was promulgated…… The petitioner is a political person. It appears that he has filed the present PIL Writ Petition in order to score his private and political interest,” said the affidavit filed State Culture Secretary.
After devoting several pages on Swamy’s tweeting and apprehensions against Swamy’s displeasure on the Act, Government said that due to the natural disaster in 2013 felt the need for the restructuring of administrative arrangements for the good conduct of Char Dham Yatra management. Interestingly the Government’s affidavit also claimed that they wanted to have a good administration like Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir, Sai Baba, Jagannath, and Somnath Temple. It is curious how the Uttarakhand Government considered Sai Baba and compared it to this state’s controversial Act.
“That in the year 2019, after the occurrence of natural disaster happened in the year 2013, need was felt to restructure the administrative arrangements in order to cater to the requirements for carrying out the Char Dham yatra management. Moreover, most of the pilgrims who visit Badrinath Ji and Kedarnath Ji Temples also visited Gangotri and Yamunotri which are equally famous religious circuits for pilgrims. Therefore, in order to include Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines under the new framework and to rejuvenate Gangotri, Yamunotri and other famous temples, there was a necessity to make effective legal provisions for the management and control of temples and Devasthanams located in Uttarakhand similarly as Shri Vaishno Devi Mata Temple established in Jammu and Kashmir, Sai Baba, Jagannath, and Somnath Temple in order to ensure better administration, management and to maintain transparency, to check misappropriation of funds and property and also provide better facilities, convenience and hygiene to the pilgrims,” said the Uttarakhand Governments’ affidavit objecting to Subramanian Swamy’s petition against the Act which took over 51 temples including Kedarnath and Badrinath Temples.
Recently Subramanian Swamy urged Prime Minister to direct the State Government for withdrawing the controversial temple takeover act.
However, in the entire reply affidavit, the Government did not answer on the points raised by Swamy on the landmark Supreme Court’s 2014 Judgment against the Tamil Nadu Government’s takeover of Nataraja temple in Chidambaram district. This case was filed by Subramanian Swamy. In the Judgment and many subsequent Judgments on the matter, the Supreme Court clearly said that temples should be managed by devotees and not the Government.
“State has merely made an attempt to collaborate with trustees in administering the Char Dham Devasthanam. Their religious activities have not been touched, neither the powers of the trustees have been suspended. The power has been given to the CEO by the State Government only in the management of the Devasthanams. There has been no intention to remove the trustees altogether nor to violate the right given to them under Article 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution,” claimed BJP led Uttarakhand Govt’s affidavit justifying take over of 51 temples.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday (June 10) Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conducted a review meeting with Uttarakhand Chief Minister on “review of Kedarnath reconstruction project,” said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a statement. Recently Subramanian Swamy urged Prime Minister to direct the State Government for withdrawing the controversial temple takeover act.
 Temples should be managed by devotees, not government: SC – Apr 8, 2019, The Times of India
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