Terming the controversial Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act as “reckless disregard” of the Constitution of India, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy in his final arguments in the Uttarakhand High Court said that the State Government has totally violated the basic principles and the Act which took over 51 temples including Kedarnath and Badrinath must be scrapped. Arguing for more than hour through video conferencing, Swamy said that the Act is totally ultra vires and nowhere in India have such things happened, where the State Government “just went and grabbed” the temples.
Arguing before the Bench comprising of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, Swamy referenced the Supreme Court’s landmark Judgment against temple take over in Tamil Nadu and pointed out that Uttarakhand Government never had any findings on malpractices in temples. “They just cited 2013 natural calamity to pass this Act in 2019. This is reckless disregard to the Constitution of India. No Inquiries. Just cited 2013 natural calamity as a reason… This is blasphemy, if I use it as a Christian term,” said Swamy, assisted by Senior Advocate Manisha Bhandari and Satya Paul Sabharwal. The Court has reserved the case for judgment, which is expected to be before the retirement of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan on July 28.
Swamy came down heavily on the Advocate General’s queries on which Hindu Gotra Swamy belongs to. The State’s legal officer earlier argued that Swamy did not belong to the Gotra or Sect of the temples in Uttarakhand. Quoting the controversial Act, Swamy said that he is a concerned person being a Hindu. Earlier the BJP-ruled State Government in their affidavit expressed displeasure on tweeting by Swamy on this matter. Tweeting shows that i am concerned about the matter, Swamy shot back. He also told the Bench about the public anger across the State and priests protests on this blatant illegality of the Act to take over 51 temples.
“Nowhere in India, is the Chief Minister also acting as the Chairman of a Temple Board. Why in a Secular Country is the Government intervening in religious affairs? This is not the job of politicians or their nominees to handle the administration of temples,” reiterated Swamy urging for the cancelation of the Act by the Court, citing the landmark Judgments against temple take over.
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