Uttarakhand High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Dr.Subramanian Swamy, challenging the validity of Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019.
The PIL filed by Dr.Swamy sought to challenge the constitutional validity of the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019, by which the administration and control of major Hindu religious institutions have been taken over by the Uttarakhand government or by any authority functioning under the state government.
The Uttarakhand government has argued that Act, which allows it to takeover the Char Dhams and 51 other temples in the hill state, does not interfere in the matter of religion and was done only to regulates the temporal functions associated with matters of faith, as far as these shrines are concerned.
The Uttarakhand government also contended that the move was meant to improve pilgrim amenities and facilities at Uttarakhand’s prominent temples, and this in turn will be aimed at achieving a bigger pitch for Hinduism-related tourism.
Trivendra Singh Rawat government in Uttarakhand , with support from the Centre has been working towards better infrastructure surrounding the hubs of devotion.
In Dec 2019, the Uttarakhand assembly had passed the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Bill. In January, Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya gave her assent for the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019.
The priest community in the state has been opposing the new law alleging that they were kept in the dark about the legal provisions of the act. They had accused the government of bypassing the powerful priest community.
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