Scrutiny for religious shrines and charitable institutions: SC
A judicial audit of all the religious shrines and charitable institutions has been initiated by the Supreme Court. The Apex Court has asked the District Magistrates to analyze complaints of hygiene, harassment, and management related issues at the religious places and send a report to the High Courts which shall be considered as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the Courts. The order of SC is applicable to all the religious and charitable institutions in the country including temples, mosques, and churches. The reports by the District Magistrates are going to be the criteria for High Courts to dictate appropriate orders on hygiene and management related issues. The effort of the judiciary to conduct an exercise at such a vast level may increase the pressure on the courts considering there is a load of three crore pending cases. The SC was scrutinizing a similar PIL on the Puri Jagannath Temple that highlighted the alleged harassment and exploitation of the visitors by the sevaks of the temple. The petition also drew the attention of the Court towards the unhygienic surroundings and commercialization of rituals in the temple. The SC has held that the Puri Jagannath Temple shall allow the entry of people that belong to other religions apart from Hindu, since, Hinduism does not prohibit any other belief as evident from the previous judgments of the SC.