SC directs Jagannath temple management to consider allowing visitor irrespective of religion or faith

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Ahead of most awaited festivals of Odisha the annual Rath Yatra in Puri, the Supreme Court on July 6 directed the management of Jagannath temple to consider allowing every visitor, irrespective of religion or faith, to offer prayers to the deity.

SC division bench, headed by Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and S Abdul Nazeer, stated in the interim order that the temple’s management committee will consider whether members of other religions will be allowed to visit the temple subject to regulations.

The bench said “Hinduism does not eliminate any other belief. It reflects eternal faith and wisdom and inspiration of centuries”.

“The temple management may consider, subject to regulatory measures with regard to dress code, giving of an appropriate declaration or compliance of other directions, permitting every visitor irrespective of his faith, to offer respects and to make offerings to the deity,” division bench added.

“I would not like to comment on what the Supreme Court decides, but reasonable restrictions are allowed in our religion through the Constitution,” BJP leader Subramanian Swamy reportedly said.

“In my opinion, if the temple and court have a problem then they should stop people of other religion getting closer to the main altar. Also, it’s only the temple’s management committee who will consider whether members of other religions will be allowed to visit the temple subject to regulations,” Swamy said.

His statement came a day after the Supreme Court asked the Jagannath temple authorities to implement the District Judge report and update its website to make it ‘friendly for devotees’.