HC sends notice to state govt over Devastham Act

Uttarakhand HC sends notice to state govt over Devasthanam Act

Representative image.

The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the state government, seeking its reply on senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's petition challenging the constitutionality of the Devasthanam Act.

The Act, passed by the state assembly in December last year, permits a government-headed panel to take over the management of temples in the state, including the Chardham, whose affairs have traditionally been run by priests or "haq and hakukdharis".

Hearing Swamy's PIL, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Ramesh Khulbe served a notice to the state government, directing it to file a reply within three weeks.

The BJP leader filed the PIL on Monday, stating that the decision of the Uttarakhand government to claim authority over the management of affairs of Chardham was legally incorrect and therefore, the Devasthanam Act should be revoked.

The petition said no such authority could be retained permanently by the government as per the directions of the Supreme Court in a similar case earlier.

The current government had even promised in its manifesto to free the temples from its control, Swamy added.