Allahabad HC orders fresh selection of Jyotishpeeth Badrikashram’s shankaracharya
A two-judge bench held the claims of both Vasudevanand and Swaroopanand on the post as illegal.cities Updated: Sep 22, 2017 19:09 IST
The Allahabad high court said on Friday that the post of the shankaracharya of Jyotishpeeth Badrikashram should be treated as vacant and asked Hindu religious bodies to select the head of the monastery in Uttarakhand’s Badrinath within three months with the help of priests, scholars, and shankaracharyas of the other three monasteries.
Swaroopanand Saraswati and Vasudevanand both proclaimed themselves to be the shankaracharya of Jyotishpeeth Badrikashram leading to the matter to reach the courts.
A lower court held that Vasudevanand was disqualified for the post and restrained him from proclaiming himself as the shankaracharya of Badrikashram while allowing the suit of Swaroopanand. It decided the claim over the Jyotishpeeth in favour of Swaroopanand.
A two-judge bench comprising justice Sudhir Agarwal and justice KJ Thaker held on Friday the claims of both Vasudevanand and Swaroopanand on the post as illegal and issued a direction for maintaining a status quo till the fresh selection.
The appeal of Vasudevanand was partly allowed by the court.
The court affirmed the injunction order of a lower court by which it had restrained Vasudevanand from using various insignia the pontiffs of the four shrines at Puri, Dwarka, Shringeri, and Badrinath are entitled to carry.
The court in its judgement observed only four peeths were established by Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th-century reformer of Hinduism, and that the selection of a shankaracharya must be conducted as per the procedure adopted in 1941.
The court said at the time of the selection, Vasudevanand was not a ‘sanyasi’ and therefore not qualified for the post. It also said that at that time the post was not vacant so the selection of Swaroopanand was also wrong.
Swaroopanand, the Dwarka pontiff, has been holding the additional charge since 1973 as the last shankaracharya of the Jyotishpeeth did not nominate anyone to the post.
Vasudevanand had laid claim to the title of shankaracharya by producing a will by the previous pontiff, which the lower court found to be ‘fake’.