Acting on a Dalit man's petition, the Orissa High Court has asked the government to submit a report on public access into a Hindu temple in Kendrapada district.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguli and Justice N Prusti directed the district collector to submit the report after hearing a petition filed by Dalit leader Akshya Mallik, officials said.
Mallik had alleged that the authorities had violated an earlier court order of Dec 14 that said Hindus had the right to enter any temple irrespective of caste.
Despite that ruling, the district administration did not allow Dalits to enter the 300-year-old Jagannath temple at Keredagada, a village of 1,400 people where about 400 are Dalits.
The village had earlier seen numerous clashes between Dalits and upper caste people. The Dalits were only allowed to see the deities through nine holes in the temple wall.
After the court direction, the administration built an iron grill closing the holes so that both Dalits and upper caste people could see the deity from a common platform.
Since the last two months, the priests at the temple refused to give them 'prasad', Mallik said in his petition.
At least 1,000 Dalits in the region embraced Buddhism last week in protest against the temple practice.