Special Law on Lingaraj Temple outside legislative competence of State Legislature: Centre
Bhubaneswar: The Centre has pointed out that Shri Lingaraj Temple Ordinance is outside the legislative competence of assembly and violates the Anicent Monuments and Archaelogical Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958.
Reportedly, the Governor’s office forwarded the Home Ministry’s letter of March 23 to Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra on March 31 seeking the Government’s clarifications.
The ordinance that was circulated in December 2020 had proposed to head the 11th century Temple complex by a separate law like the Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri which is governed by the Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1955.
As per the provisions of the ordinance, a 15-member committee can be formed to manage the temple and a senior IAS officer to be appointed as its administrator.
Currently, the Lingaraj temple is governed by the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment Act, 1951. This is a common legislation for most temples.
Notably, the Union Culture Ministry has raised questions after the ordinance went to the President for the permission.
The Odisha government had inserted a clause in the ordinance in November last year according to which the provisions of the ordinance would be in accordance with the AMASR Act.
However, the matter is being reviewed since the new communication questions the legislative competence of the assembly.
Adding to it, the Culture Ministry said nine protected monuments and three centrally protected tanks (in Lingaraj complex), governed by the AMASR Act, are brought under the reach of the ordinance.
It is pertinent to mention that Odisha Cabinet had approved Shri Lingaraj Temple Ordinance 2020 in line with Sri Jagannath Temple Act on December 14, 2020.
According to the Shri Lingaraj Temple Ordinance 2020, the provisions were made for protection and management of movable, immovable properties and endowments.
(With inputs from TOI)