The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Karnataka High Court’s order, that appointed an overseeing committee for managing the Gokarna Mahabaleshwara Temple.
The high court had quashed the B S Yeddyurappa government’s decision of August 12, 2008, to hand over control of the temple to Sri Ramachandrapura Mutt.
In its decision, the HC had on August 10, declared the state government’s order “illegal and not valid in law,” saying deleting the temple from the list of notified institutions in absence of any power and handing it over to the Mutt was “improper exercise of power and arbitrary.”
It had, as an interim measure, directed for setting up of an overseeing committee with Justice B N Srikrishna, former SC judge, as the advisor.
“The interim order passed by the High Court shall remain in force,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud directed.
The top court, however, issued a notice to the Karnataka Government and Sri Sansthana Mahabaleshwara Devaru and others, which had filed the writ petition in the high court, challenging the then state government’s decision.
Sri Ramachandrapura Mutt, led by senior advocates Harish Salve, Tushar Mehta and K V Vishwanathan, challenged the interim order as well as the high court’s judgement of August 10.
They sought stay of the high court’s direction for constitution of a committee known as “overseeing committee” and the order to the deputy commissioner, Uttara Kannada district, to make an inventory of all the movable and immovable assets of the temple as well as the bank accounts and submit a report to the high court within a period of two weeks.
However, advocate Joseph Aristotle, representing the state government, submitted a note issued on August 28, which stated following the high court’s order.
The Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997, the deputy commissioner of the district has been given an additional charge as the executive officer of Sri Mahabaleshwara temple, Gokarna.
The bench, after putting initial queries like who was managing the temple before the decision to delete it from the notification of 2003, decided to examine the issue and sought response from the writ petitioners including Sri Balachandra Vigneshwara Dixit and others.
Those who had approached the high court, were represented by senior advocates Shyam Divan and S S Nagananda and others in the apex court.
During the hearing, senior advocate Mehta, representing the petitioners, pointed out some FIRs were filed against Raghveshwara Swamy but he was discharged from those cases.