Tuesday 25 September 2018

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Navdurga Mahajans wanted to install idol on 29 Feb, HC dismissed their appeal

 

The Bombay high court has not only withdrawn the interim relief granted in the case of replacing idol of Devi Navdurga of Madkai, but it has also dismissed the appeals made by the temple committee.

The order also reveals that the Mahajans of Goddess Navdurga wanted to install the new idol on 29 February.

However, with their appeal being dismissed, there is no case pending now before the Bombay high court at Goa.

The case of replacing the idol of Goddess Navdurga would be thus decided by the District Court at Ponda within 30 days from 29 February.

The orders published by the court on its website state that its earlier order granting interim relief as well as the appeal of the Mahajans are set aside.

(CLICK BELOW TO READ BOTH THE ORDERS)

APPEALS DISMISSED

The Mahajans of Devi Navdurga of Madkai had filed two appeals in the high court, one to seek interim relief to replace the idol and second to set aside the order of ‘status quo’ by the District Court of Ponda.

The Mahajans sought the ex-parte interim relief on 23 February to replace the idol, but the matter had to be heard again on 25 February, four days before their scheduled date of installing the idol.

However, they were in a quandary since, hearing the news of interim relief, hundreds of villagers rushed to the temple to try and stall any attempt of Mahajans to replace the idol, maintaining round-the-clock vigil.  

The Mahajans had basically gone into appeal against the order passed by the district court of Ponda on 20 February, granting status quo, meaning restraining Mahajans from replacing the idol.

In its appeal, the temple committee told the high court that “the process for uninstalling the damaged idol has to commence as early as possible so that the new idol can be installed in position and the Pranpratishthapana of the new (idol) replica can be done at the specified Muhurt on 29/02/2016.”

However Justice K L Wadane, during the hearing on 25 February, got enraged when Adv Amrut Kansar, counsel of the protesting villagers, told the court that they have still not been served the notice when actually they had to file a reply by that date.

 

Since the interim relief granted by the high court was ex-parte, Adv Kansar says it was the responsibility of the temple committee to get the notices served to the protesting villagers, who have formed Devi Navdurga Pratishthan.

While Justice Wadane wanted to withdraw the interim relief granted to the temple committee, Adv Subodh Kantak, counsel of the Mahajans, later agreed to give an undertaking that the idol would not be replaced for the next 30 days.

The high court thus directed the lower court to dispose of the case within 30 days, by beginning its hearings from 29 February at 2.30 pm.

Accordingly, the high court passed the order, which stated: “In view of the statement made by Mr Kantak, learned Senior Advocate, the impugned Order and Appeal is hereby set aside.”

In view of this, the attempt of the Mahajans to replace the damaged idol on 29 February could not materialise.

Earlier, the temple committee had to cancel the 12-day ceremony, beginning from 22 February, due to the district court order on 20 February to maintain status quo, meaning not to replace the idol.

TEMPLE IS ‘PRIVATE’, SAY MAHAJANS

The Navdurga temple committee had however pleaded its case before the high court on the grounds that the temple is a private property and not public, as claimed by the Pratishthan.

The Mahajans told the high court that the Navdurga temple was established by 8 families of 4 Gotras, managed as per the by-laws approved during Portuguese regime in 1910, which are still in force.

On the other hand, they contend that the Navdurga Pratishthan has not produced a single document to prove that they have a right to interfere in the administration of the temple, which belongs to its Mahajans only.

In fact, the temple committee had challenged in the high court the local standi of Shri Navdurga Pratishthan.

The Mahajans have also countered the argument of the Pratishthan, stating that the right to religion of the people do not get violated by changing the damaged idol with new replica.

References HC Order 1 on Navdurga temple References HC Order 2 on Navdurga temple






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