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SC relives Gopal Subramanium in Jagannath temple case

SC relives Gopal Subramanium in Jagannath temple case
(Image Credit: Twitter)

The Supreme Court Friday accepted the request of former solicitor general and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium to relieve him from the role of assisting the court as an amicus curiae in a matter related to the Jagannath temple in Puri.

A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said since Subramanium had requested the court to relieve him from the role of amicus in the case, it would appoint somebody else to assist it in the matter.

A lawyer, appearing for one the applicants in the matter, told the bench that it should appoint a senior lawyer who is "conversant" with the customs of the ancient temple as an amicus in the case.

When the lawyer claimed, "Gopal Subramanium did not know anything", the bench shot back, "Do not say all this".

The lawyer said that issues related to the Jagannath temple should be heard by a five-judge bench of the apex court as they were "serious" and violence had also taken place there last month.

"This should be sent to a five-judge bench," he said, adding, "There was a total confusion and a big riot happened there".

The bench, which relieved Subramanium from the role of amicus, said the matter would be heard in the second week of January.

On June 6, the top court had appointed Subramanium as an amicus curiae to assist it in the matter in which a plea was filed highlighting the difficulties faced by the devotees at Jagannath temple and their alleged harassment or exploitation by the sevaks (staff) of the temple.

On October 10, the court had said that no policeman should enter Jagannath temple "with weapons and shoes" after it was alleged before it that during the October 3 violence at the shrine, cops had entered there with boots and guns.

The violence had erupted there during a protest against the introduction of a queue system for devotees at the temple.

The Odisha government's counsel had termed the allegations as "absolutely false" and said that no policeman had entered the temple as the incident had taken place at the office of Shree Jagannath temple administration which is situated around 500 metres from the main temple.

Nine policemen were injured in the violence during a 12-hour bandh called by a socio-cultural organisation protesting the introduction of a queue system for devotees visiting the temple, police had said.

In July, the top court had directed the Jagannath temple management to consider allowing every visitor, irrespective of faith, to offer prayers to the deity.

However, it had said that allowing of every visitor, irrespective of faith, would be subject to regulatory measures regarding dress code and giving an appropriate declaration.

It had directed the Centre to constitute a committee to look into the issues raised by the district judge of Puri regarding alleged exploitation of devotees, abolishment of hereditary Sevaks and appointment of Sevaks in the temple.

(With inputs from agencies.)



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