Priests ought not to obstruct communication between devotee and God: HC

Priests ought not to obstruct communication between devotee and God: HC

Priests ought not to obstruct communication between devotees and God, the Delhi High Court today said while giving suggestions on managing the rush of people at Kalkaji Temple here.

The observation came from Justice J R Midha who also said that the "working in the temple has to improve. This is not the way. I am concerned whether a temple should be run in this way".

"There is only a fraction of a second for a person to view the deity. Within that fraction of a second, there should be no obstruction between devotees and God. Here (the temple) the fraction of a second is not unobstructed. I also go to that temple.

"People (the priests) are there only to obstruct. Give a person one or two seconds to communicate with God. The people there (the priests) are not better enlightened that they can communicate to God better than devotees," the judge said.

The observations came during hearing of a priest's plea seeking a judicial order to restrain his two sisters from doing puja and 'sewa' at the temple and sharing offerings collected.

However, the priest today agreed to an interim arrangement to pay Rs six lakh each to his two sisters from the offerings collected during the 'puja sewa' from February 7 to March 7.

In view of the proposal made by the priest, the court directed them to give within three days post-dated cheques of February 24 to both the woman.

To ensure that the 'daily darshan' at the temple be managed in a "systematic manner" as is being done in other temples, like at Vaishno Devi shrine, the court suggested having two single person lines with each devotee being permitted unobstructed 'darshan' for a "fraction of a second".

Citing the example of Jhandewalan temple here where devotees who don't want to stand in the line can view the deity from a distance, the court suggested putting in place such an arrangement at Kalkaji temple also by removing some constructions 20 feet from the deity.

Since the darshan by devotees was managed by the police station of Kalkaji, the court has sought the presence of the Station House Officer of that police station on the next date of hearing on February 21.

The court also asked the lawyers from both sides to visit the temple and to suggest measures by which the darshan process can be made smoother. The priest moved the high court after the lower court allowed his two sisters to sit in the puja.

In his plea filed through advocate B L Wali, the priest has said that since the married sisters belong to different families and gotra they have no rights to perform 'puja sewa', which started yesterday and will end on March 7.

He has said the lower court's February 4 order should be stayed and his sisters be restrained from performing the puja. Earlier, the priest's lawyer had told the court that from time immemorial only male descendants of the family were entitled to the proceeds of offerings since they performed puja and other rituals in the temple.

It was also argued earlier that in the history of the Kalkaji temple, no woman has ever performed puja. The two sisters through their counsel Satish Sahai had earlier told the court that they have a right to perform puja and 'sewa' being the legal heirs of their father.

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