SC stays Raghunath temple takeover, issues notice to Himachal Pradesh govt
On September 1, the Himachal Pradesh high court had okayed the temple take over and quashed Maheshwar Singh’s petition. Singh subsequently challenged the order in the apex court, which has issued a notice to the state government seeking a response to the petitioner’s contention.india Updated: Sep 14, 2017 21:26 IST
In a reprieve to Kullu MLA and royal family scion Maheshwar Singh, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed takeover of the Raghunath temple.
On September 1, the Himachal Pradesh high court had okayed the temple take over and quashed Maheshwar Singh’s petition. Singh subsequently challenged the order in the apex court, which has issued a notice to the state government seeking a response to the petitioner’s contention.
Earlier, the Himachal high court had observed that a writ petition cannot be filed in such cases. Referring to other similar cases, the court said there was provision of a civil suit for such cases. “This petition involves seriously disputed questions of fact and even otherwise the rival claims of the parties are such, which can only be investigated and determined on the basis of evidence, which may be led by the parties in a properly instituted civil suit rather than by a court exercising prerogative of issuing writs,” the high court had ruled.
The state government issued a notification on July 26 to take over the temple. Kullu deputy commissioner had given seven days to Maheshwar Singh, the chief Kardar of Raghunath temple, to hand over the records of the temple located in Sultanpur Palace.
In August last year, the HC had stayed the temple’s takeover by the government after Maheshwar Singh approached the court.
The state government had issued a notification under the Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act, 1984, to take over the temple. After the government order to acquire the temple, a war of words escalated between political leaders.
Maheshwar has been maintaining that the temple was his private property and hence the government cannot acquire it. However, chief minister Virbhadra Singh had argued that Raghunath temple was public property and the government had the right to acquire it.