SC to hear Archakas case on July 9
source: Deccan Herald, July 5, 2007
From Pratap K Patnaik,DH News Service,New Delhi :
The Supreme Court has fixed July 9 for hearing the issue concerning the livelihoods of 70,000 priests of over hundreds of temples and trusts, which had been affected after the enactment of Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act in 1997.
When the counsel appearing for the priests and their associations said the state might retrench thousands of archakas (priests), a bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and P K Balasubramanyan said it would hear the matter on coming Monday, the day the court reopens.
The petition filed by counsel Kashi Vishwaswar said the state government in its application had kept the Court in the dark about the formation of a high-powered committee headed by Justice M Rama Jois to look into the grievances of the priests and other members of the temples.
The state authorities also did not inform the court about a notification on January 20, 2007 in the Kannada daily Prajavani seeking suggestions for modifications in the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 and the rules framed under it in 2002.
The priests and the temple trusts had challenged the High Court’s single-judge order, saying that it was discriminatory and was not uniformly applicable to all religious institutions.
The appellants had said that the act was selective as it did not cover Mutts and other religious institutions.
“Karnataka had filed an application challenging the HC division bench order before the Court without disclosing the steps and measures undertaken by the Government in due deference with the order of the court,” said the petition.
Taking advantage of the said interim order, the Department of Endowment issued instructions on May 5, 2007, issued by the Office of the Commissioner, Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowment Department, Bangalore to all the Deputy Commissioners to constitute managing committees for the temples under the Act, which was struck down by the High Court, the petition said.