Court prohibits Navdurga idol replacement, ‘public temple’ issue pending

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 20 April 2016 22:06 IST

Mahajans of Shri Navdurga temple at Madkai cannot replace the idol of the Goddess till the court gives final verdict in the case filed by the non-Mahajan villagers.

But the district court at Ponda has partially granted rights to Mahajans to carry on temple activities.

Ponda district judge Irshad Aga today passed the most-awaited order, granting injunction on replacing the idol of Goddess Navdurga.

The hearing on the original suit filed by Shri Navdurga Pratishthan would now commence from 7th May.

While villagers of Madkai took out a jubilation rally in the village after this order, temple committee president Vallabh Kamat told goanews.com that the verdict has gone in the favour of the Mahajans.

Adv Amrut Kansar, who was arguing on behalf of the villagers, said it is still not known what exactly the court has allowed partly to the Mahajans.

“We will know it only when we get the written order in hand day after tomorrow (22nd April)”, he said.

Kamat, the president, also reserved his comments, stating that he would prefer waiting for the written order.

According to him, the major issue was not replacing the idol but the rights of the temple committee which the villagers wanted to take in their hands.

“The court has restored our rights”, said Kamat, claiming that the villagers were interfering in the management of the temple.

     

The Mahajans have thus decided not to approach the high court against today’s order but to wait till the final verdict in the case is passed by the Ponda court rather than going ahead with idol replacement.

The issue had started with the Pratishthan of non-Mahajans opposing the Mahajans’ move to replace the idol, claiming it to be in deteriorated condition.

This had led to the case reaching the district court and then even the high court, where the orders had gone in favour of the non-Mahajans, who succeeded in stalling the move to replace the idol.

However, the Pratishthan challenged basic claim of Mahajans that the Navdurga temple is a private property while non-Mahajans now want the court to declare it as a public property.

They have also asked the court to declare that the idol belongs to all the people of Madkai and not the Mahajans alone.

“We have not challenged the right of Mahajans to manage the affairs of temple, but equal right over religious rituals and ceremonies”, said Adv Kansar.

He also denies that the non-Mahajans have ever interfered with the management of the temple.

How the court can restore the management rights when we never challenged it, asks Adv Kansar.

Mahajan president Kamat however had filed a counter claim during the hearing on injunction plea that the Pratishthan is interfering in the management.

This issue would be clarified only when written order comes in hand on Friday.

But more interesting than this would be what the district court finally decides – the temple is private or public. 

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