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Draft rules for amended Puri Temple Act ready: Odisha govt

Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri. Painting used for depiction.

Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri. Painting used for depiction. Archive photo | Express

CUTTACK: The state government on Wednesday informed the Orissa High Court that the draft rules to amend the Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1954, are ready and it will take another four months to finalise them.

Taking this into consideration, a division bench of Chief Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Savitri Ratho adjourned the hearing of the PIL on the legal validity of the amendment to Section 16(2) of the Act to a date of four weeks. One Dilip Baral from Puri filed the petition. The petitioner’s legal counsel Anup Mohapatra opposed framing of the rules at this stage.

Acting on a PIL, the Supreme Court on March 15, 2022, issued notice to the State Government and directed it to file a counter affidavit, furnishing details of transactions entered into under the amended section.

In an interim order issued that day, the Supreme Court stated that “all actions taken pursuant to the amendment of Section 16(2) of the Act shall be subject to the outcome of the writ petition.”

Shree Jagannath Temple Administrator (Rituals) Jitendra Sahoo filed an affidavit registering the relevant transactions as per the court order on June 24, 2024.

The state government, for its part, has taken the position that devolving powers to officials at various levels will facilitate speedy resolution of all matters related to the disposal of land or real estate.