The Orissa High Court on Friday directed the state government to constitute a high-level committee to assist the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee (SJTMC) in the inventorisation of Ratna Bhandar (treasury of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri).
“We direct the state government to constitute a high level committee, if they are approached by the SJTMC for supervising the process of inventorisation of the valuables including jewelleries stored in the Ratna Bhandar. Such committee to be constituted by the state government within a period of sixty days from the date when the SJTMC will approach them,” directed the court.
The court has also directed that the said committee will assist the SJTMC in carrying out inventory work.
The HC directive came while hearing a plea filed by BJP leader Samir Mohanty. In his plea, Mohanty had sought directions to constitute a high power committee under the chairmanship of the Governor of Odisha or a sitting judge of the Orissa High Court to supervise preparation of the inventory of the valuables including ornaments of Lord Jagannath kept in the Ratna Bhandar.
Mohanty has also prayed the court to direct the temple administration to open the Ratna Bhandar for carrying out the repair works in the inner walls of the Ratna Bhandar.
“Today’s judgment is a victory for the Jagannath Culture and 4.5 crore Odias. The Bharatiya Janata Party has been bringing to public notice issues related to the Ratna Bhandar for the last five years. The high court’s judgment has foiled the conspiracy to avoid the making of inventory of jewellry. The court has cleared the road for the opening of Ratna Bhandar and preparation of inventory of the ornaments and valuables kept there,” Samir’s advocate Pitambar Acharya said.
“The High Court bench comprising Honorable judges, Savitri Ratho and Subhasis Talapatra delivered a landmark judgment. The absurd argument presented by the government claiming that Samir Mohanty has no locus standi or not eligible to file the writ petition was rejected by the high court. It directed the government to take the decision regarding the constitution of high power committee within two months,” Acharya added.
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