Staff Reporter

Order in an interlocutory application of March 13, 2006 is still in place, says High Court

  • Petitions had been filed seeking a direction to State on maintaining law and order
  • Petitioners apprehended that new rituals would lead to communal violence

    BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Saturday refused to pass any fresh direction to the State Government on maintaining law and order at Datta Peetha in Bababudangiri in Chikmagalur district.

    A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice S. Abdul Nazir dismissed petitions by K. Nissar Ahmed, Shahbuddin Khan and M.R. Sunderesh, all of whom claimed to be devotees of the peetha and had sought a direction to the State to maintain law and order and to ensure that Datta Jayanti was conducted only as per the February 25, 1989 order of the Commissioner of Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments.

    They said that the rituals at the shrine should be conducted by both Hindus and Muslims as per the 1989 order and apprehended that new rituals like "Datta Homa" and "Gana Homa" and the conduct of Shoba Yatra and Datta Mala Abhiyana would lead to communal clashes and bloodshed.

    Refusing to interfere with the conduct of rituals, the court said its earlier order in an interlocutory application (IA) of March 13, 2006 was still in place where it had said that the dargah belonged to both Hindus and Muslims. It noted in the IA an order of February 25, 2006 by the Deputy Commissioner of Chikmagalur on the performance of daily rituals.

    It said it could not be disputed that all rituals had to be strictly conducted as per this order and any custom or usage not permitted in the order could not be accepted.

    It said these directions passed in the IA are "still in force and operative and all citizens whether Hindus or Muslims are bound by it and all authorities of the State obliged to abide by it even without further orders from the court. Any person who violated the order or authority which refuses to implement or enforce the order is bound to face the necessary consequences."

    It said the question that remained was whether the petitioners were entitled to the relief as sought for and whether the court could issue directions merely because of apprehension of the petitioners that the State was not taking steps to maintain law and order.

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