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The Expert Committee that was formed last year informed the Supreme Court that the erosion of the Shivalingam was a continuing process.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed an Expert Committee to visit the Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain and submit a report outlining the steps to be taken to prevent the deterioration of the Shivalingam in the temple.
The Committee is also required to suggest measures to be taken to preserve the temple structure, including the Chandranageshwar Temple, and submit its report by December 15, 2020 [Sarika v. Administrator, Mahakaleshwar Mandir Committee, Ujjain (MP) & Ors].
This directive was issued by the Bench of Justice Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari on the basis of the reports submitted by the same Expert Committee set up in January last year, the report of the Temple Committee, as well as the project report prepared by the Ujjain Smart City Ltd.
This Committee, consisting of experts from the Archaeological Survey of India and the Geological Survey of India, was formed for the prevention of erosion of the Shivalingam in the Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple.
Having visited Ujjain on January 19 last year, the Committee reported that there was erosion of Shivalingam after the last inspection, and it is a continuing process.
In order to preserve the Shivalingam, the Apex Court has directed that:
(a) any devotee should do no rubbing of the Shivalingam.
(b) The Temple Committee to ensure that the pH value of Bhasma during the Bhasma Aarti is improved and Shivalingam is preserved from further deterioration and to implement the best methodology to prevent further damage to the Lingam.
(c) The Temple Committee ensures that weight of Mund Mala and Serpakarnahas is further reduced to preserve the Shivalingam from mechanical abrasion and to consider whether it is necessary to use them, or there can be a way out to use them without touching the Shivalingam. Possibility of further reducing weight may also be found out to prevent mechanical abrasion.
(d) The rubbing of curd, ghee, honey on the Shivalingam by the devotees is also a cause of erosion and only pouring of a limited quantity of pure milk is allowed by the Committee. Whereas in the traditional puja to be done on behalf of the temple, all pure materials can be used.
(e) Poojaries, Janeupati, Khutpati, Purohits, and their authorized representatives to strictly ensure that no visitor or devotee rub the Shivalingam at any cost. If it is done by any devotee, accompanying Poojari or Purohit shall be responsible. No rubbing of Shivalingam to be done by anyone except during traditional Puja and Archana performed on behalf of the temple.
(f) The entire proceedings of Puja and Archana in Garbh Griha to be video recorded 24 hours and be preserved at least for six months. If any violation is found by any Poojari, Purohit, the Temple Committee can take suitable action against them.
(g) As agreed to on behalf of the Temple Committee, no Panchamrita to be poured on Shivalingam by any devotee. It may be used only during traditional Puja and Archana of the Shivlingam.
(h) The Temple Committee shall provide pure milk from its resources to the visitors and devotees for offering and make arrangements for that and should ensure that no impure or adulterated milk is offered to Shivalingam.
Additionally, the Supreme Court has issued the following directions:
The Expert Committee to do a yearly survey and submit a report to the Court.
The Temple Committee shall provide water from Koti Thirth Kund filtered and purified and further maintain the required pH value.
The Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee to visit the temple, if necessary, and submit a project report regarding structural stability within six months. A sum of Rs. 41.30 lakh, as required by it, shall be paid by the Central government as early as possible.
Ujjain Smart City Ltd., to undertake Mahakaal Rudrasagar Integrated Development Approach (Phase I and Phase II) forthwith and submit detailed project report and the time frame within six weeks.
Details of necessary repairs, maintenance, and improvement to be worked out and carried out forthwith. The Collector to prepare a comprehensive plan for this with the help of the Superintendent Engineer and available Architect.
State government to sanction funds immediately. Also, a suitable plan and estimate must be prepared within four weeks, and necessary repair and maintenance work be carried out urgently.
Modern additions made to the temple be removed as per the recommendation of the Expert Committee and the Temple Committee has to file a compliance report for the same by December 15, 2020.
The original work in the temple is required to be restored. Restoration work to be done on eyesore painting by December 15, 2020. Temple Committee to ensure in future not to permit or resort to such painting and covering of the original work.
The Collector and Superintendent of Police of Ujjain to ensure that encroachment within 500 mtrs. of the area of the temple premises are removed.
With regard to the preservation and maintenance of the Chandranageshwar Temple, a comprehensive plan is to be prepared and implemented, and submitted to the Court.
The matter has been listed for further monitoring and consideration of the compliance report in the second week of January 2021.
Read the Judgment here.