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KEY TAKEAWAY

  • The Karnataka High Court quashed the previous State Government order dated 19 March 2018, allowing only Muslim priest (Mujawar) to perform rituals.
  • It was said that it is violative of Article 25 of the Constitution of India which states that everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
  • A single judge bench of Justice P S Dinesh Kumar referred the matter back to the State Government with instructions to re-examine the matter in accordance with the law.

WHAT IS DATTA PEETA

  • Datta Peetha or Baba Budan Giri is a holy cave shrine in Chikmaguluru district of Karnataka.
  • The shrine was named after the sufi saint Baba Budan, who is revered by both Muslim and Hindu communities.
  • Guru Dattatreya Peetha and Baba Budangiri are worshipped and visited by both Hindus and Muslims. However, disputes broke out after it was claimed that the place was exclusive to one community.
  • The place has been controversial due to political and religious tensions.

BACKGROUND

  • In 1985 the Karnataka High Court had ordered the commissioner for religious and charitable endowments in Karnataka to inspect the practice being followed with regard to management of Guru Dattatreya Swami Peetha.
  • In 2007, the court quashed the order given by the endowment officer as the recommendation had been incorrectly extracted.
  • An organisation named ‘citizens for justice and peace’ challenged the order in the Supreme Court). The Supreme Court passed an interim order directing the Endowment Commissioner to submit his report.
  • In 2010, the Endowment Commissioner submitted his report before the court suggesting that a Hindi Archak be appointed by the management committee for performing daily poojas.
  • To this, the State government appointed a high level committee to consider the recommendation made.
  • The high level committee submitted its report in 2017 recommending to continue the nature and character of religious practices
  • In 2018, the State Government issued an order which permitted only a muslim priest to enter the shrine to perform the rituals.

THE MAIN ISSUE

  • According to the State Government order given in March 2018, only a muslim priest appointed by Shah Khadri could enter the shrine.
  • Only a muslim priest (mujawar) could offer flowers and light the deepak to the idol of Guru Dattatreya Swami Peetha.
  • The worshipping of idol goes against the religions beliefs on the muslim community.
  • The judge said in his order that the State Government has inflicted upon the mujawar to perform the pooja, and to light the deepak which is against his beliefs.
  • Justice P S Dinesh Kumar pointed out that the state has "infringed upon the rights of Hindu community to have the Pooja and Archana done in the manner as per their faith."
  • Both the above mentioned acts amount to violation of the religious belief of both the Hindu and the Muslim communities.

What is your viewpoint on the order issued by the court?
Do you think the State Order permitting only a Mujawar to perform the rituals correct? Let us know in the comments below!

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