BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct Uttarakhand Chief Minister to withdraw the recent Act, which took over 51 temples including Badrinath and Kedarnath temples. Terming the takeover of temples is illegal, Swamy in a letter, told Modi that the 51 temples taken over by the State Government is an embarrassment to BJP and its policy. Swamy has already challenged the controversial Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act of 2019 in High Court and the Court has issued notice to the State Government on February 25. The State Government has not yet responded to the High Court Notice.
“The Uttarakhand BJP Government has brought a legislation to take over almost all the temples of the State and also appointed the Chief Minister as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. This move is not only against the policy of our party and ideology of Hindutva, but also illegal and against the Judgment of the Supreme Court (now widely known case as Subramanian Swamy Vs State of Tamil Nadu judgment by the Supreme Court in 2014). In this the Supreme Court has laid down clearly that the Government under Article 25 of the Constitution, cannot take over the administration of any temple, except for the brief period when there is a documented misappropriation of funds of the temple,” pointed out Swamy, adding that there was no misappropriation found in temples of Uttarakhand.
The controversial Act passed by the BJP-ruled State Government in 2019, intending to take control of more than 51 temples related to the Char Dham circuit has already invited severe criticism from the Sangh Parivar organizations. This Act enables the Government to take control of the temples currently by priests, local trusts and the new Act say MPs, MLAs, and representatives appointed by the State Government will run the temples. As per the Act, the head of the Devasthanam Board will be the State Chief Minister and many Government officials are placed in the administration. The Act says, if the Chief Minister is not a Hindu, senior-most Hindu Minister will be the head of the Board.
“Rather than waiting for the Court to deliver Judgment against the takeover, it would be in the interest of our Party if you as Prime Minister gives a direction to the Chief Minister to restore the position which has existing before the takeover of the temples. It is also politically sensitive to do so,” said Swamy.