The Karnataka high court has directed the state government to reprint the invitation card for a festival at Puttur temple after it admitted the error of printing the name of Dakshina Kannada deputy commissioner A B Ibrahim’s name, in violation of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and justice Ravi Malimath, passed the order on Wednesday, saying that “in order to avoid any controversy and confusion between the devotees and the deputy commissioner, the court directs the government to reprint the invitation of the annual festival.”
The bench said that as per section seven of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, a non-Hindu cannot participate in any such function or event.
“Ibrahim is a non-Hindu and he practises a religion which does not allow idol worship,” it added.
“The court also directs Ibrahim not to participate in any such event in future,” the bench said.
A group of devotees of Puttur Mahalingeshwara temple, who had filed the petition, had pointed out that the inclusion of the name of Ibrahim was against the Endowment Act of the government.
Contrary to the earlier stand of defending inclusion of Ibrahim’s name in the invitation card, the government admitted its error in doing so before the division bench.
Law and parliamentary affairs minister TB Jayachandra had defended the government’s stand by saying that Ibrahim has done nothing wrong and acted in his capacity as the deputy commissioner as per the Muzrai Department’s rules.
The controversy had created political ripples when Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal raised objections over the inclusion of Ibrahim’s name in the invitation card.
The 10-day festival is held from April 17 every year in the temple at Puttur, 52 km from Manguluru, in which thousands of devotees from various parts of the state, participate.