By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 21 Jul: Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat today welcomed the decision of the Uttarakhand High Court in upholding the constitutional validity of the Devasthanam Board. Religious Affairs Minister Satpal Maharaj also welcomed the decision.
On the other hand, immediately after the announcement of the judgement, the petitioner, Subramanian Swamy, tweeted, making it clear that he would challenge the decision of the High Court in the Supreme Court.
At a press conference following the judgement, Rawat welcomed the decision of the High Court on the Chardham Devasthanam Management Board. The CM claimed that that the Board had been formed with a view to future requirements, facilities for devotees and development of infrastructure. Last year, 36 lakh devotees undertook the Char Dham Yatra. The number of devotees was likely to rise sharply in the future. Therefore, the safety of such a large number of pilgrims was the priority of the government. The High Court had approved the decision of the State Government. The Chief Minister said that the government wished to clarify that the rights and interests of the Teerth Purohits and the people of the Panda community had been protected under the Act. Traditions had great importance in religious and cultural affairs and the government had maintained all traditions regarding Chardham. For hundreds of years, local priests and Panda community had preserved the sacred traditions of the Char Dham. In spite of adverse circumstances, they had taken care of the devotees coming from far and wide.
The Chief Minister said that he himself had seen how the priests had made arrangements for boarding and lodging of the pilgrims even when the roads were blocked due to rains, etc. Such hospitality had created much respect for Uttarakhand as Devbhoomi. The CM further claimed that the constitution of the Chardham Devasthanam Board was among the biggest reform measures in this region after the formation of the state. He claimed that the decision of the High Court ought not to be seen as a victory for anyone and it was not a political matter.
Cabinet Minister Satpal Maharaj commented that the decision of the High Court was an appropriate reply to the concerns of the petitioner, Subramanian Swamy. RLEK Chairman Avdhash Kaushal also welcomed the decision. It may be recalled that Kaushal had defended the government’s measure to constitute the Devasthanam Board in the High Court. Speaking to Garhwal Post, he claimed that the Char Dham Shrines were not private shrines and, therefore, the government had rightful control over them. He also claimed that facts in the recent judgement in respect of Padmanabha temple in Kerala were very different and the decision of the Supreme Court in that case was not applicable to the Char Dham.
On the other hand, reacting to the HC judgement, the petitioner, Subramanian Swamy, declared his intention to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. In a tweet soon after the decision, Swamy stated that he and his legal team would wait for the copy of the judgement and also observed that the High Court had modified to some extent the original Act, which was because it upheld some of his arguments in the case.
By Our Staff Reporter