Tuesday, June 25, 2024

‘Let religious people handle’, Supreme Court declines AP plea against HC order on Ahobilam Mutt temple

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The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea by the Andhra Pradesh government against a high court order, which held that the state had no authority under law to appoint an executive officer to the Ahobilam Mutt temple in Kurnool district. A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul told the counsel, representing the Andhra Pradesh government, to let the religious people handle this matter.

The bench, also comprising Justice A.S. Oka asked why is the state government stepping into this matter, and added: “Let the temple people deal with it… Why should religious places not be left to religious people?” The top court said that Andhra Pradesh has no jurisdiction or entitlement under law to appoint an executive officer of the ‘Sri Ahobila Mutt Parampara Aadheena Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Devasthanam’ (the Ahobilam Mutt temple).

It told the state government lawyer: “In every case under Article 136, we need not try to settle the law. Sorry.” After hearing the arguments, the top court declined to entertain the state government and others’ appeal against the high court order. A petition before the high court contended that the Ahobilam temple has been under the control of Sri Ahobilam Mutt, which is based in Tamil Nadu, since time immemorial.

The high court had said appointing an executive officer for the temple, which is a part of the mutt, violated Article 26(d) of the Constitution as it affects the right of administration of Jeeyars’/Mathadipathis. The Andhra Pradesh government and others had challenged the high court order passed in October last year.

It made it clear that the temple is an integral part of the Ahobilam Mutt and the contention raised by the state government that the temple and Mutt were distinct entities cannot be entertained. The high court further added that said the temple is an integral and inseparable part of the Ahobilam mutt, which was established as a part of the propagation of Hindu religion and for rendering spiritual service for propagating Sri Vaishnavism.

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