Bhubaneswar: The State Government on Tuesday issued a clarification in response to the objections raised by the Union Home Ministry over the Shri Lingaraj Temple Ordinance 2020.
In a letter to the Union Home Secretary, Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra issued the clarifications and asked that appropriate steps may be taken in obtaining the instruction of the President of India to enable the Governor of Odisha to promulgate the Ordinance for smooth management of the Seva Puja Deity Shri Lingaraj Mahaprabhu.
The Center had stated that the Shri Lingaraj Temple Ordinance 2020 is outside the ‘legislative competence’ of the state legislature and violates the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958.
In response, the State Government refuted it citing the letter dated 16.09.2021 of the Secretory to GoI in the Ministry of Culture in which it has been suggested to incorporate in the Ordinance a provision that as far on the 12 Centrally Protected Monuments are concerned the The provision may be made in consonance with the AMASR Act.
Therefore, taking into consideration of the suggestion of the GoI, a new provision in the shape of sub-Clause (4) has been proposed to be inserted in Clause 4 of the Ordinance which is quoted as below:
(4) Not withstanding anything contained in this Ordinance, the Temple tanks and other sacred places including maths as specified in the Schedule to this Ordinance which are declared as of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 shall be managed and maintained in consonance with the provisions of that Act.
“In view of the aforesaid insertion as suggested, the provision contained in the Ordinance as such will not violate any of the provisions of the AMASR Act, 1958 rather the purpose of the Ordinance is to regulate the day to day management of Shri Lingaraj Temple and the other Temples and properties of the said Temples as it is a living temple and large number of devotees visit daily,” read the letter.
It is pertinent to mention that, the Minister of Law & Justice (Legislative Department) in their letter dated.08.04.2022 have no objection for promulgation of the Ordinance, it added.
While issuing further clarifications on all the discrepancies or comments pointed out by the Government of India, the State Government also stated, “The whole object of the Ordinance is to maintain manner and manage the affairs of the temple in a smooth and prescribed which has currently has been entrusted to the Commissioner of Endowments, Odisha, Bhubaneswar. It is relevant to note that duties and responsibilities of the Commissioner of Endowments have been increased manifold in the meantime. Promulgation of the Ordinance will not only help in effective management of the Temple Administration but simultaneously will lessen the burden of work on the Commissioner of Endowments.”