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DHIRANDERA MANHARBHAI & ANR. v STATE & ANR. - CW Case No. 2858 of 2004  RD-RJ 961 (6 May 2005)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN
Shri Dhirendra Manharbhai & Anr. Vs. State & Anr.
(D.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION (PIL) NO.2858/2004)
D.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 226
OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA.
IN THE MATTER OF OF NATHDWARA TEMPLE
ACT, 1959 AND THE NATHDWARA TEMPLE
*** 6th MAY,2005
DATE OF JUDGMENT:
HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE N.N.MATHUR
HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE MANAK MOHTA
Mr.P.M.Rawal, Sr.Advocate assisted by Mr.P.K.Lohara,
Mr.P.S.Champaneri, for the petitioner
Mr.N.M.Lodha, Additional Advocate General
Mr.M.S.Singhvi for the respondent
Mr.Manish Shishodia) for the applicants
BY THE COURT:(PER HON'BLE MATHUR J.) 1. The petitioners in the instant public interest litigation claims to be the followers of Pushtimargiya Vaishnava
Sampradaya and devotees of temple of Shri Shrinath Ji at
Nathdwara. They seek direction to the respondents for framing of proper and appropriate scheme for regulating arrangement of the Darshan, holding of Festivals, Ceremonies and distribution of Prasad. A further direction has been sought commanding the 2nd respondent i.e. Goswami Shri Rakesh Ji Maharaj to ensure the performance of public and statutory duties. 2. Before dealing with the merit of the grievance voiced, it would be convenient to set out briefly the historical, cultural and religious background of the temple and the incidence in relation to the management of the temple. 3. The temple of Shrinathji at Nathdwara holds a very high place among the Hindu Temples in this country and is looked upon with great reverence by the Hindus in general and
Vaishnava followers of Vallabha in particular. As in the case of other ancient revered Hindu temples, so in the case of the
Shrinathji Temple at Nathdwara, mythology has woven an attractive web about the genesis of its construction at
Nathdwara. Part of it may be history and part may be fiction, but the story is handed down from generation to generation of devotees and is believed by all of them to be true. This famous temple is visited by thousands of Hindu devotees in general and by the followers of the Pushtimargiya Vaishnava
Sampradaya in particular. 4. The followers of Vallabha who constitute a denomination are popularly known as such denomination was founded by
Vllabha. He was the son of Tailanga Brahmin named Laxmana
Bhatt. On one occasion Laxmana Bhatt had gone on pilgrimage to Banaras with his wife Elamagara. On the way she gave birth to a son in 1479 A.C. The son was known as Vallabha. It is said that God Gopala Krishna manifested himself to Vallabha on the Govardhan Hill by the name of Shrinathji. Vallabha built a small temple at Giriraj and installed the image of Shrinath Ji.
Later on a big temple was constructed. It further appears from the religious book entitled "Cultural Heritage of India" Vol.III that in the course of time Vallabha was succeeded by his son
Vithalnath Ji. He had great organizing capacity and his work was actuated by missionary zeal. 5. In denomination, Vallabha is described as Acharya or
Maha Prabhji and Vithalnathji is described as Gosain or
Goswamin. It is said that Vithalnathji removed the idol of
Shrinathji to another temple which was built by him. It further appears that Emperor Akbar granted land in Mowza of Jetpur to Vithalnathji, in order to build buildings, gardens, cow-sheds and workshops for the temple of Goverdhannathji. Some how in the year 1593 A.D. which was followed by another order issued in October 2, 1633 by Emperor Sharjahan. The history records that before the death of Vithalnathji, he entrusted the principal idol of Shrinathji to his eldest son Girdharlalji and the other idols were given over to each one of his other sons, who in turn founded separate shrines and at various places which are also held by the members of the denomination in high esteem and reverence. As the history further records that when
Aurangzeb came to the throne, the congenial atmosphere of tolerance disappeared and the Hindu temples were exposed to risk and danger of Aurangzeb's intolerant and bigoted activities. 6. It further appears that in Vraj Bhumi, Mathura, there was a famous religious place housing the temple of Lord
Mathuranathji. The devotees whereof were Vaishnavs. The said temple was also noticed by Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb.
History also reveals that in or about 1726, the Emperor
Aurangzeb led with aggression on Mathura and fearing such invasion, all religious and pious places of Vraj Mandal witnessed largescale exodus which was followed by destruction of religious and holy places by the soldiers of Emperor Aurangzeb. In such difficult times, the image above referred or the idol was planned to be shifted from the Vraj Bhumi to a safe place to avoid destruction thereof at the hands of the Army Emperor
Aurangzeb. As per historian the image of Lord Shrinathji was carried to Agra, Pushkar, Dungarpur and Jodhpur. The journey ended at small hamlet town of Siarh. This place is now known as
Shrinathji, in course of time developed as a town in the name of Nathdwara which means doorways of Nath. 7. As above stated facts are, thus, according to the tradition, the genesis of the construction of the Temple at Nathdwara.
Since its construction, the religious reputation of the temple has grown by leaps and bounds and today it can legitimately claim to be one of the few leading religious temples of the Hindus and more particularly Pushtimargiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. It also is now one of the richest religious institution in the country. 8. As regards the management of the temple, it has a long history, which is not required to be narrated in the present context. It is not in dispute that succession to the Gaddi of
Tilkayat has been governed by the rule of Primoginature. As the position of the entire Tilkayat was that of a spiritual leader of denomination. Be that as it may, the shrine of Shrinathji has always been and was a religious institution for the followers of the Vaishnavas Sampradaya and all the properties offerred at the shrine were the property of the shrine and that the Tilkayat
Maharaj was merely a Custodian, Manager and Trustee of the said property for the shrine. In the year 1952 Tilkayat appointed a committee of 12 members for the better management of the temple. It was followed by a committee of 21 members in the year 1953. It further appears that while the said committee was incharge of the management some valuables stored and locked in the room in the premises of the temple of
Shrinathji alleged to be removed by the Tilkayat in December, 1957, which created excitement amongst the members of the public in general and the followers of the denomination in particular, which led to appointment of Commission of Indquiry by the Rajasthan Government. The commission submitted its report on 11.10.1959, which contains severe stricture against the conduct of the Tilkayat. It appears that the dispute as regards between the Tilkayat and the Rajasthan Government was referred to the sole arbitrator Justice Mr.Mahajan, a retired
Judge of the Supreme Court, who made an award on September 12, 1961, and held that except in regard to the items specified by him in his award, the rest of the property belonged to the
Tilkayat, and he found that when the Tilkayat removed the properties, he believed that they were his personal properties. In the background of the said events, the State of Rajasthan thought it necessary that a Scheme should be drafted for the management of temple and the proposal also appears to have received approval of the Tilkayat. In order to give effect to the said proposal, it was agreed between the parties that a suit under Section 92 of the Civil Procedure Code should be filed in the Court of the District Judge at Udaipur and parties then thought that the suit would be non-contentious and would speedily end in a scheme of management being drafted with the consent of parties. This proposal and consequence of events appear to have led to filing of a suit No.1 of 1956 in the District
Court at Udaipur and in accordance with the agreement which he had reached with the authorities, the Tilkayat filed a non- contentious written statement. However, before the suit could make any appropriate progress, Ghanshyamlalji and Baba Rajvi the son of the Tilkayat applied to be made parties to the suit and it became clear that these added parties desired to raise contentions in the suit and that entirely changed the complexion of the litigation. It was then obvious that the litigation would be a long drawn out affairs and the object of evolving a satisfactory scheme for the management of the affairs of the temple would not be achieved until the litigation went through a protracted course, and it was under these circumstances, that the Governor of Rajasthan promulgated Ordinance called "The Nathdwara
Ordinance, 1959" (No.II of 1959) on February 06, 1959, which
Ordinance in due course was replaced Act No.13 of 1959 i.e.
"The Nathdwara Act, 1959" (hereinafter referred to as the Act of 1959). In exercise of the powers conferred under the said Act, the State of Rajasthan has also framed Rules known as "The
Nathdwara Temple Rules, 1973". The constitutional validity of the Act of 1959 was upheld by the Apex Court in Shri Govind
Lal Ji vs. State of Rajasthan reported in AIR 1963 SC page 1638.
It is held therein that the right to manage the properties of the
Temple is purely secular matter and it cannot be regarded as a religious practice so as to fall under Article 25(1) or as amounting to affair in the matter of religion. 9. A reference has been made to a publication under the caption "Mahaprabhu Shrimad Vallabha Acharya" by
Dr.Gajanan Sharma. Vallabha Acharya developed the doctrine of
"Pusthi Marg" (Path of grace). The concept of Pusthi Marg is not of worship but service/dedication. It is the belief that it is not statute or deity of Lord Krishna, but it is "Bal Swaroop" of
Lord Krishna which exists in Nand Rai's Haveli at Shri
Nathdwara. It is in that context that the service is offered to
Lord Kirshna. It is quite different from the concept of worship.
His worship consists of several acts of performance every day in the prescribed order of ceremonies. These ceremonies begin with the ringing of the bell in the morning and putting the Lord to bed at night. After the Lord is awakened by the ringing of the bell, there is a blowing of the conch-shell, awakening of the Lord and offering morning refreshments; waving of lamps; bathing; dressing; food; leading the cows out of grazing; the mid-day meal (Rajbhog); waving of lamps again; the evening service; the evening meal and going to bed. These are rituals performed with meticulous care from day to day constitute the prescribed items of Seva which the devotees attend every day in the Vallabh
Temple. These are popularly known as different kinds of
Darshans. The following Darshans are witnessed at the Lord
Shri Shrinathji Temple:
Shri Nathji is awakened and offered butter, fruits and sweet and salted snacks. The shringara for this ceremony is comparatively simple. In the summer months, Shri Nathji is dressed in a light dhoti like garment(arbanda). During the winter, the lord appears in a robe which leaves only his face exposed.
Shri Nathji is elaborately dressed. He holds a flute and is shown a mirror in which he may check his appearance. At this time, he is offered dry fruits.
Krishna leads the cows out of graze. Incense is burned. Milk and sweets are offered to him. This darshana is being celebrated.
This is the most eleborate ceremony. It takes place around 10:30 in the monring. A large meal is prepared for Shri Nathji and offered to him before the doors are opened. Since this is the major
Darshan of the day, the doors remain open longer than in the other ones. After Rajabhoga Krishna is laid down for siesta.
This is the first darshana of the evening. It takes place around 3:00 to 3:30 in the afternoon. Shri
Nathji is awakened from siesta by the sound of the conch. Again fruits and milk are offered.
About one hour after Utthapana, Bhoga is performed. In the summer, fountains are placed before Shri Nathji and in the winter, he is warmed by a stone (Plate 5A). During the summer season, flowers are added to the Shringara. More food is offered at this time.
Krishna brings the cows back at dusk and the ceremony of lighting the lamps is performed (Arti).
The Shringara is lightened at this time and food is offered. During the month of Shravana and on festival days, Bhoga and Arti are done together.
This is not always performed openly. From Chaitra
Shukla 9 to Ashwina Shukla 9, the doors are closed to devotees. Shri Nathji is offered more food and pana(beera) and then put to bed.
The above stated eight Darshans are held during the summer months. The first one starting at about between 5:30 to 5:40 a.M. in the morning. In winter months, instead of eight
Darshans, there are seven Darshans. Thus, according to the religious tenets and precepts, the Temple is not opened all through out the day, but is opened to the followers and worshipers for a limited period when these Darshans are over and it thus naturally follows having regard to the short duration for which these Darshans remain opened. There would be large crowd of followers and worshippers waiting to have Darshan of
Lord Shrinathji. The short duration during which these
Darshans remain opened and having regard to the fact that large number of visitors and worshipers come to have Darshan, which number is in thousands. 10. Every year lakhs of devotees and pilgrims visit the Temple for Darshan of Lord Shri Nathji. It is estimated that every
Saturday and Sunday witness at least 5000 to 7000 devotees/pilgrims visiting the Temple. Even on regular day, there are close to 2000 pilgrims visiting the Temple. In addition, on various functions and ceremonies held in the Temple, roughly about 7000 to 8000 people/devotees visit the Temple. On the ceremonies and functions, such as Annkut Utsav, which lasts upto 15 days, approximately about 50,000 people visit the temple. Similarly, on the ceremony of Golautsav approximately about 25,000 devotees visit temple every day to take part in the ceremony and have Darshan. 11. As already stated the temple is public temple governed under the provisions of the Act of 1959. Section 3 of the Act provides that the temple and all its endowments including all offering which have been or may hereafter be made shall vest in the deity of Shri Shri Nathji and the Board constituted under the Act shall be entitled to the possession thereof. Section 4(i) provides that the administration of the temple and all its endowments shall vest in the Board constituted in the manner provided in the said Act. Section 5 provides that composition of the Board shall consist of the President, the Collector, Udaipur and nine other members. Section 5(1)(ii) of the said Act provides that, the Goswami shall be the ex officio President of the Board, if he is not otherwise disqualified and it willing to serve as such. The State Government is entitled to nominate
Vice President of the Board from amongst the members of the
Board. Section 16 of the Act provides that subject to the provisions of the said Act and of the rules made thereunder, the
Board shall manage the properties and secular affairs of the
Temple. However, the proviso to this Section provides that all matters connected with the conduct of Seva and Puja and other ceremonies and of festivals of the Temple according to the customs and usages of the Pushti Margiya Vallabha
Sampradaya shall be under the direct control of the Goswami.
Thus, the temple committee is also constituted under the
Act to manage the properties and secular affairs of the temple. It is obligatory on part of the Goswami to directly control and conduct and Seva Puja and other ceremonies and festivals including worship. 12. Section 30 of the Act confers powers upon the State
Government to make Rules consistent with the provisions of the
Act for all or any of the performance set out in sub-section (2) of
Section 30. The State has framed "The Nathdwara Temple
Rules, 1973" (hereinafter referred to as the Rules of 1973).
The term "Seva" is defined in Rule 2(f) to mean and include all kinds of service performance in respect of the idols of the
Temple or other objects of worship installed therein. The term
"Sevawallas" means the Mukhias and Bhiteriyas and such other persons as may be declared Sevawallas by the State
Government under the second proviso to Section 21. Rule 3 provides for preparation of inventories. One of the important functions of the Goswami is to verify and attest the inventory of
Temple jewelery showing full particulars and valuation of each article. Rule 4(i) though provides that custody of temple jewelery shall remain in custody of the Chief Executive Officer assisted by the Gehnaghar Officer appointed by the Board, the articles of jewelery are to be issued by the Gehnagar Officer on requisition made from time to time by the Goswami or his representative.
The responsibility for the safe custody of the articles so issued, shall rest with the Goswami under Rule 4(2), and the Goswami shall be responsible for the safe return of and for making good the loss of shortage, if any, of the articles, occurring during the period the same remain in the custody or control of the
Goswami. Rule 4(3) provides that no article of jewelery shall be retained by the Goswami for any period longer than it is required for service of the idol. 13. The grievance voiced by the petitioner is that there are no proper arrangement to regulate the inflow of followers and worshipers waiting to have Darshan of Lord Shri Nathji. It is also stated that influential persons carrying recommendations are permitted to have Darshan as VIP and a situation of chaos remain each time when the doors of the temple are open for
Darshan being offered to the visitors. It is suggested that proper arrangements be made to regulate the inflow of the followers which includes the deployment of proper staff, security personnels, who can control the crowd and see that orderly in functions each visitor will have Darsan and offer his prayer and with a view to see that there is no stamped of unnecessary rush leading to incidents which causes hurt to small children, old aged persons and female. The another grievance is straight away directed against the second respondent i.e. Goswami Shri
Rakesh Ji Maharaj present occupant of Gaddi of Shri Tilkayat
Maharaj. It is stated that on the sad demise of Tilkayat Maharaj
Goswami Govindlaji his elder son Rajeevji Maharaj took the reigns of the temple as Tilkayat Maharaj Goswami. Rajeev Ji
Maharaj left for heavenly abort on 30th March, 2003 and consequently the Second respondent Goswami Shri Rakeshji
Maharaj was appointed as Tilkayat. Ever since he occupied the office there has been negligence in holding the performance of ceremonies. He has not been discharging his duties properly. It is also suggested that the arrangement for the Darshan be made on the line as being done in Temples of Lord Tirupati; Minaxi,
Shivji and Ambaji. 14. A counter has been filed supported by the affidavit of one
Shri Sobhag Mal Singhvi, power of attorney holder of the second respondent. All the allegations of mismanagement of the temple as well as the personal allegations made against the second respondent are emphatically denied. The efforts made to make a proper arrangement for temple has been given in detail. The same has also been catlouged in Para 19 of the reply which reads as follows:-
"(1) Increase in duration of period of Darshan and notifying the timing and period of duration at various places in the town including the provision of LCD
(2) Providing of temporary railings and arrangements of Darshan by having lane system (though these railings have been dismantled by the public as stated above).
(3) Regulating Darshans of various categories including "Manorathis", "Sevageer" VIPs, VVIPs, old and disabled persons, Ladies and Gents.
(4) Making provision for additional counter for
"Bhent" and distribution of "Prasad" and recently packaging of prasad in paper boxes.
(5) Widening of gates of entry and exist.
(6) Civering of Ratan Chowk.
(7) Installation of Acs.
(8) Provision of Wheel chairs for handicapped and old persons with further provision of carriers.
(9) Booking of rooms in Dharmshalas/Cottgages of the Temple Board for pilgrims at various places, namely Surat, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kota,
(10) Subsidized food for pilgrims at Rs.12/- per diet.
(11) Regular training of security guards and appointment of duly trained official guards.
(12) Making provision for sanitation, approach road to the temple from various Dharmshalas and cottages. A provision of Rs.45,000/- per month has been made in this regard. This payment is made to
Municipal Board, Nathdwara." 15. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties by interim order dated 22.11.2004 we directed as follows:-
"(a) Nathdwara Temple Board is directed to prepare a detail plan of Temple and Town development and also the time bound action plan within a period of three months from the date of order and submit the same to this Court for perusal.
(b) The second respondent will convene atleast one meeting of the Board within a period of three months at Nathdwara itself. The meeting at Nathdwara will be positively attended by the second respondent." 16. Pursuant to the orders of this Court, a meeting of the Trust was convened on 25.12.2004, which was presided over by the second respondent Tilkayat Maharaj Shri Rakesh, the Vice
President Smt. Kokila Ben D.Ambani, the Collector Rajsamand and the other members. The Board approved the first phase plan of the temple development prepared by one of the member of the Trust and the known Architect Shri Niranjan Hiranandani. A report was submitted to this Court on 6.1.2005. It appears that a local civil court passed an interim injunction as such the respondent filed a misc. application on which this Court passed an order dated 19.2.2005. In compliance of the direction of the
Board the Architect submitted the first and the second phase plan for development of the temple. He apprised the Board for execution of the second phase plan Rs.7 Crores will be required initially and the project will take at least two years for completion after its commencement. After deliberation the Board approved the plan Phase-I and Phase-II. It was also resolved to place the plan before this Court for perusal and approval. It further appears that the Board also authorized the Chief
Executive Officer to negotiate with the private house/shops/Temple owners covered under the Temple development plan for rehabilitation after receipt of approval by the Hon'ble High Court and place the proposal in the next
Board's meeting. The Board also authorized the Executive
Committee to decide the sites for rehabilitation and compensation payable to private house/shops/Temple owners under the Temple Development Plan. 17. Under the Temple Development Plan the Trust proposed to provide a place to accommodate about 20 thousand pilgrims waiting for the Darshan. There is also a plan to construct some more cottages and also to open Prasad Counters. It is also a proposal to construct an Podium near Govind Chowk or Chopati, which is to be connected with Moti Mahal by a Flyover to provide smooth passage to the pilgrims. There is also a plan for the beautification of Lal Bagh. The Trust has made a provision of
Rs.215 Lakhs for the same. There is an ambitious plan to develop Govardhan Parvat and so as to establish a New
Nathdwara in 300 Bighas of the land. The Trust proposed to construct a Ring Road to provide an entry in Nathdwara on
Natiinal Highway from Village Odhan. As per the plan, the Trust proposed to provide roads in the main areas including elevated road from Risala Chowk to new Cottage Bich Ki Magri Palwali
Dharmshala. In the second phase the Trust proposed to undertake the area from Anar Chowk to Pritam Poll. It appears that in certain corners, there is suspicion and doubt among the public as to the development Plan Phase I & II. This may be largely because of lack of publicity. This led to filing of certain applications before this Court. The different joint applications have been filed mainly by the shop keepers apprehending their business likely to be aversely affected on account of the Temple
Development Plan. They have also apprehended demolition of their shops. They are not aware about the rehabilitation programme. An application has also been filed by one Najar
Singh Mandawat a Senior Advocate of the Town. He has raised an objection with respect to demolition of Vallabh Bhawan. It is stated that it is a three storied building having 53 Blocks for residence. There is a hall, Bhojnalaya, Railway Booking and other amenities annexed to the said building having parking place in front of the building. In his opinion, there is no need to demolish the said building. He has also given certain suggestion for the development of the Temple. It is also suggested that the land lying near Govind Bhawan can be utilized for the development of the Temple. In his opinion the plan submitted by the Trust Board if executed would not be in the interest of the
Temple and public at large and mere wastage of money of the religious Trust. It is submitted that the funds are meant for
Seva of Shri Nathji and for religious and charitable purpose.
However, he has stated that other objections shall be submitted after detail study of the plan. 18. Another application has been filed by one Shri Pradeep
Paliwal, a practicing lawyer. It is stated that he has published number of publications like "Nathdwara Tirth" and a Magazine in the name of "Brahma Sambandh". He claimed that he is well aware of the ground reality of the difficulties faced by the devotees and pilgrims coming to Nathdwara. It is further stated that delay in implementation of plan prepared for the betterment of the Shri Nathji Temple, a wide spread belief has been created in the pilgrims and the devotees that the management is not acting properly and this belief will ultimately effect the turn out of pilgrims to Nathdwara. 19. There is another application filed by Goswami Shyam
Manohar Lal Maharaj, who claims to be descendants of"Goswamikul" . He has made certain positive suggestions, which deserve to be noticed. It would be convenient to extract the objections and suggestions made by him,
"(1) That the petitioners and the respondents in the aforesaid writ petition have admittedly averred that original shape and sanctity of Nij Mandir need not to be disturbed and is to be maintained. Further it is also admitted by both the parties that Shri Nath Ji temple is not a temple, but it is "Nand Rai Ji's Haveli". In broad words it is a temple of "Haveli Parampara". "Haveli" means a house and it is admitted that Lord Shrinath Ji is sitting in the temple of "Haveli Parampara". All existing construction in this premises are established with an intent to clearly establish it as a big Haveli, but if the plan of second phase is allowed to continue, major part of "Haveli" will go away and premises of original "Haveli" will be shortened.
(2) That to explain "Haveli Parampara", it is to be requested that in any person's house, "Baithak"
"Rasoi", "Shayan Kax" and so many type of places are included. In Shrinath Ji's temple (Nandrai Ji's
Haveli), a big house was established in which "Nij
Mandir", "Dol Tibari", "Kirtiniya Gali", "Kamal
Chowk", "Ratan Chowk", "Anar Chowk",
"Bagichi", "Dholi Patia", "Dhruv Bari",
"Goverdhan Puja Chowk", "Tulsi Kyara",
"Gehnaghar", "Aprash", "Kharash", "Rasoi",
"Doodh Ghar", "Pan Ghar", "Shak Ghar" etc. are there.
It will be pertinent to mention here that "Rasoi" is extended with so many rooms. In ordinary house there is a simple kitchen, but here it has been separated in so many departments like
"Doodhghar"(Milk House), Shak Ghar (vegetable house), Pan Ghar (Bettle House), Kharash (flour mill) etc.etc. and other portions like "Aprash" is a bathroom; "Gehnaghar" is a room for ornaments etc. etc.
The aforesaid averments have been made to establish that the temple of Shri Nath Ji is a very big
Haveli of Shri Nath Ji, thus, demolishing certain construction of this Haveli will amount to shortening of "Haveli", so the term "Nij Mandir" cannot be taken in a very small sense.
(3) That it will also be relevant to mention here that
"Swaroop" of Lord Shrinath Ji came from "Brij" i.e. the area surrounding Mathura and Vrindavan and in
Brij area "Gwal"(cowboys), "Gau"(cows) were main companion of Lord Shri Nath Ji and all stories surrounding Lord Krishna travel in "Kunjas" and
"Kunj Gali" (Gardens) etc. Thus, temple of Shri
Nath Ji at Nathdwara has been established with the same intent as there were cow boys in Brij,
"Brijwasis" are at Nathdwara. As there were cows with Lord Krishna at "Brij", thus here are
"Gaushalas" at Nathdwara(Mewar). As there were
"Kunj" and "Kunj Galis", there are about 12 gardens belonging to Shri Nath Ji at Nathdwara.
However, it is unfortunate that none of the gardens is maintained, but almost have ruined and this all is Atma" of "Pushti Marg Vaishnav
Sampradaya" and is connected with the feelings of followers of Lord Shri Nath Ji.
(4) That it will also be pertinent to mention here that however Shri Nath Ji Temple is constructed as Pucca construction, but ceiling of Lord Shri Nath Ji is still a
"Chhappar" covered by "Kelus" as it was intended by Lord as well as "Maha Prabhu Ji". On this
"Chhat" "Dhwaja Ji" and "Sudarshan Chakra Ji" are there. "Dhaja" represents all seven
"Swaroops" of "Pushti Margiya Vaishnav
Sampradaya", thus, there are seven "Dhawjas" conjointly. "Dhwajaji" is most respectful part to the followers of "Vaishnav Sampradaya" so also
"Sudarshan Chakra Ji" which is a symbol of security. Every "Darshanarthi" visiting Shrinath Ji temple for "Darshan" should also have Darshan of
"Dhwajaji and Sudarshan Chakraji" from Ratan
Chowk, which were quite visible from the place, where "Darshanarthis" pay their respect to the lock of the temple. However, it is very sad incident that the respondents have covered "Ratan Chowk" and "Darshanarthis" from Ratan Chowk cannot have "Darshan" of "Sudarshan Chakra" clearly.
(5) That further it will be pertinent to mention here that there are "Ratan Chowk" and "Kamal
Chowk", which are open to sky because from
"Ratan Chowk" "Darshan" of "Dhwajaji" and
"Sudarshan Chakra Ji" are taken. However, presently, "Ratan Chowk" has been covered through net. "Kamal Chowk" outside "Ratan
Chowk" has also been open sky. It has also been tried to be covered by the respondents. There are some mythologies and sayings continuing from the period immemorial that after "Anosar" then
"Shayan Darshan", this particular area is kept intact by locking and "Kamal Chowk" etc. is kept intact with an intent that Lord Shri Nath Ji is playing "Raslila" in this chowk and no person should try to witness this, thus, the area has been kept intact, but it was quite amazing to see the plan of second phase that just touching to "Kamal
Chowk" towards northern side of construction, all existing buildings have been shown to be demolished and on second floor, about six suites have been proposed to be constructed peeping towards "Kamal
It will be relevant to mention here that the area which was kept intact since construction of original temple with an intent that it could not be seen by any person because of saying that "Raslila" is being played by Lord Shri Nath Ji during night, will totally be reversed. In these suites, there will be bedrooms, toilets etc. Thus, purity of the particular area will definitely not continue. Even if the respondents want to construct suites on this floor, this site can be left away and suites can be constructed towards northern end so that purity of the area of "Kamal
Chowk" may be maintained.
(6) That it will further be relevant to mention here that looking to the plan of phase 2nd as proposed by the respondents, Lal Darwaja will also be demolished and a big gate to the hall proposed to be constructed will be constructed on the northern side of "Lal
Darwaja". It will be relevant to mention here that this "Lal Darwaja" has enchanting history of about 100's of years and "Shilalekh" is still putting on the wall near "Lal Darwaja" which narrates some instances relating to emperor "Aurangjeb" visting
"Nathdwara". This "Lal Darwaja" is a very big gate and if demolished, enchanting history and an old architecture will also go away with it. Thus, the original shape of "Lal Darwaja" is respectfully requested to be maintained. However, there is no need to widen this gate, thus, maintaining the original structure of "Lal Darwaja", some other alternative may also be considered.
(7) That it will further be relevant to mention here that the respondents are not coming with clean hands before this Hon'ble Court because the plans submitted by them for 1st phase and 2nd phase show that there are some hidden plans of the respondents also which they do not want to show completely. A bare perusal of the plans show that the shops in
"Delhi Bazar", "Temple Road", "Naya Bazar,
"Lal Darwaja", and "Nakar Khana Chowk" have not been shown specifically and constructions behind them have been proposed. Why these shops have not been mentioned in the maps, it is better known to the respondents, but it can be gathered from the information and papers that the respondents are aware of the fact that in this market hundreds of shops are there. Thousands of persons, prosperous and poor are maintaining their livelihood from these shops and if anything has been shown, it will not be easy for the respondents to go on, thus, front area of any of the aforesaid part of the town has not been shown in the maps. However, it is said that none of them will be disturbed, but it is perfectly apparent that the intent of the respondents is to disturb them definitely. Thus, complete plan as well as key plan must be placed on record before this Hon'ble Court, not in phases, but in totality to understand the intent of the respondents.
(8) That it will further be pertinent to mention here that the respondents have requested this Hon'ble
Court to accord permission for construction as per plan of second phase and at the very same time, it has been mentioned and averred before this Hon'ble
Court that there are some private properties within this area and for acquisition of those properties, State of Rajasthan will be requested to issue notification. It is two fold argument. When the Government has already or will be requested to issue notification for acquisition of property within the area specified, this plan of second phase has been placed before this Hon'ble Court to allow/give permission for construction accordingly. It establish that averment of request for notification is of no concern especially when if it is permitted by this
Hon'ble Court. Thus, plan of second phase should not have been produced before this Hon'ble Court, if the respondents were in want of notification. The aforesaid circumstances show the intent of the respondents clearly.
(9) That it will also be pertinent to mention here that the business of whole Nathdwara town is based upon pilgrims and leaving aside general rule, business of
Nathdwara township goes with timings of
"Darshan" and not for whole day i.e. since 5 to 12 a.m. and 3 to 8 p.m. Thus, livelihood of whole of the township of Nathdwara goes only with pilgrims and during timings of "Darshan" only.
(10) That the respondents have tried to show that they are going to facilities of "Darshanrthis", but it is very amazing to see that main gate proposed to be constructed in Govind Chowk as in the 1st phase plan of Nathdwara Temple Extension is "Dakshin
Mukha Dwar", which is not ordinarily permissible and it will be relevant to mention here that every main gate existing in Shri Nath Ji Temple, namely,
"Lal Darwaja", "Nakar Khana", "Surajpole",
"Kamal Chowk", "Singh Pole" as well as face of lord Shri Nath Ji are either Uttar Mukha or "Purva
Mukha", which are said to be prosperous face. It will also be relevant to mention here that "Dhruv
Bari" is connected with "Dhruv" Star and it is established for the prosperity of the temple, which is also north facing. "Charnamrit" is distributed as
"Yamuna Jal" a very pious water in concern with
Lord Shri Nath Ji as in "Brij" Yamuna river flows,
Banas in Nathdwara has been given concept of
"Yamuna". It will further be relevant to mention here that in any of the religions, "Parikrama" is always clock-wise. The original system of
"Darshan" in Shri Nath Ji temple was maintained with an intent of "Parikrama", thus,
"Darshnarthis" were traveling in clock wise direction, but in the name of facility to
"Darshnarthis" by putting barricades in "Ratan
Chowk", original concept of "Parikrama" has been reversed and "Darshnarthis" are traveling in anti clock-wise direction, which is not permissible in any religious concept.
(11) That by looking to the plans, it has come to understand that in as much as 24 lusurious suites and five big halls are going to be constructed. The applicant cannot object about it, but it can be requested that no suites be allowed to be constructed peeping to "Kamal Chowk". They may be constructed on another site. As far as halls are concerned, nothing can be understood as to why these big halls of thousands of sq.ft. are need to be constructed and what is utility of large number of such halls and how these halls will facilitate
"Darshnarthis" is better known to the respondents.
(12) That it will further be relevant to mention here that the respondents have not come with clean hands. As far as first phase of plan is concerned, it has been stated that about dozen of private properties are coming in the way of proposed construction, hence, there sanction have been taken and they have been given some alternative accommodation at the cost of respondents. While in second phase, no alternative proposal of space has been made, even, where the persons displaced from the proposed construction of second phase will be established, nothing has been mentioned. Why this has been done is better known to the respondents, but something very special is there. It will be relevant to mention here that there was Government
Hospital and Janana Hospital and so also a post office in the heart of Nathdwara town near old
Mathura Gate, which was demolished years back.
The Temple Board as well as the State Government constructed new buildings for Government Hospital two kms. away from town near Lal Bagh and dismantled the old Government Town Hospital and
Janana Hospital and post office constructed more than 100 years back and on that area, number of shops have been constructed by the Temple Board, naming it to be keshav complex. About more than a year has elapsed, these shops could not be allotted to any person and amount of crores of ruppes of
Temple Board is being wasted. It will also be relevant to mention here that the Temple Board started auctioning these shops on certain conditions starting from about Rs.10,00,000/- and as it has come to the knowledge of the applicant, twice or thrice auction was commenced, but no person came forward to bid for these shops. However, the amount of auction was reduced from Rs.10,00,000/- to
Rs.4,00,000/- and these shops are still lying vacant.
Something can be gathered from the circumstance that if the respondents dispossess any person from the shops from "Chopati" and till him to accept alternative accommodation at Keshav Complex he will never agree because if he is given that shop, he cannot earn to fill belly even. However, it is an averment on gathering some information and cannot be said that it will happen, but it may happen. Thus, if it happens, whole of the business of Nathdwara town will go away and persons will be bound to starve.
(13) That proposal of notification in second phase for acquisition of private property or dispossessing tenants create some civil rights in the citizens and for that there are different provisions in different statutes of the land, but merely stating about notification and on the other hand seeking permission of construction from this Hon'ble Court will deprive the citizens from their civil rights, so is the case of the applicant.
(14) That it will be relevant to mention here that dignity of certain things are to be maintained with religious faith. If some one say that in underground of Taj Mahal, there is a very narrow space to go so also to Vijay Stambh of Chittorgarh, that cannot be widened and every one has to accept it as it is. When sanctity of Taj Mahal and Vijay Stambh is to be maintained, some trouble for "Darshan" "Shri
Nath Ji" may also to be bore.
(15) That for illustration and presentation before this
Hon'ble Court, the applicant annex herewith photographs of Lal Darwaja, Pritam Pole Gate, Khera
Mata Ji Temple, Madan Mohan Temple, Daya Bhawan
Dharmashala and Keshav Bhawan Dharmashala which are substantial buildings within the area of proposed construction of second phase plan submitted by the respondents and the same are marked as ANNEX.A/5 to A/10.
(16) That the aforesaid submissions have been made in this application only with an intent to submit in short about the bonafides of the applicant and in the circumstance that Mukund Rai's temple belonging to the applicant is also proposed to be demolished for no reason. No alternative has been suggested and the respondents are definitely playing tactics in the matter, which will ultimately affect the right of the applicants. In such circumstances, the applicant crave leave to request this Hon'ble Court either to allow him to be impleaded as party respondent, or to join the proceedings as intervener. The applicant request this Hon'ble Court to crave liberty to file detailed submissions after orders on this application." 20. Some more shop keepers have filed applications on the last date of hearing through Advocate Mr.Manish Shishodia. The applications are almost on the same line as on the earlier applications filed by the shop keepers. 21. One of the petitioners namely Shri Sanjay Patel also appears to be a builder in Ahmedabad. He also got prepared a plan by Architect namely Shri Kamal Mangal Das and Devendra
Shah. He has suggested for opening of passage from outside the gate of Moti Mahal to Nakar Khana and enlarge the chowk in front of Nakar Khana. He has also suggested to provide air conditions in Doltibari to relieve the suffocation. It is further suggested that the movement of men and women be separated from Anar Chowk after Darshan by opening a door way for women in the Verandah of Samadhan leading them to Pritam
Pole and gents through Dholi Patia to Godhan Puja Chowk. There are certain suggestions for covering of chowks. The said
Architect has summarised the proposal under Annexure-R/3 as follows:-
"5 March 2005
OUR PROPOSAL FOR SHRINATHJI TEMPLE
A. Most important is to provide facilities for easy movement of the people for 'Darshan' and reduce over crowding and crushing of pilgrims.
- We have proposed separate entry and exit for 'Darshan'. A new entrance is proposed from
Motimahal Chowk to Nakkar Khana through
- Enlarging and re-paving the chowk outside the
- Increasing Goverdhanpuja chowk.
- Separate entrances and exits for ladies and gents.
Exits for ladies through Pritam Pole and gents through Dholi Patia.
The 3rd entry and exit from Motimahal chowk to
- temple is also provided.
- Provision of air-conditioning in Doltibari for reducint suffocation in crowded hours.
B. Improvements of facilities in the kitchen areas, relocating Samadhan areas, redesigning
Shri Krishan Bhandar area, relocating safe room, improving Parikrama areas, etc. etc." 22. Learned counsel for the petitioners Mr.P.S.Champaneri also visited the site on 23rd and 24th April, 2005. He has also submitted a report. He has raised objection with respect to any utility of removing the Vanmali Temple and Meera Bai Temple for the construction of Hall-II approximately of 21000 Sq.Ft. A serious objection has been raised with respect to construction of six suites in front of Kamal Chowk adjoining to Doltibari, Nij
Mandir and place of Raslila. It is also pointed out that in
Goverdhanpooja Chowk at the time of Darshan, Foolwalas,
Dudhwalas occupied the place and creates obstruction in reaching Ratan Chowk for Dhol Patia and just on the right hand side there are counters opened for accepting the Bhents in the nature of kinds being offered by the Darshanarthis to the temple.
This area of Goverdhanpooja Chowk required to be managed properly for providing proper Darshan facilities to the followers.
It is also suggested that Goverdhanpooja Chowk can be widened by removing Bhent counters, parlor etc. 23. Broadly speaking the first phase of the temple development plan provides multiple entries to the temple in order to reduce the congestion inside and outside the temple. For this purpose the premises belonging to the temple Board including Vallabh Cottage and the surrounding properties are proposed to be demolished and reconstructed. In this connection private properties of about 12 persons will be required to be demolished. In the affidavit the names of such persons have been given. All the said persons have given their consent for surrendering their property in lieu of alternate site provided to them by the Temple Board. The said letters of consent have been placed on record as Annexure-R/24. In order to ensure that the proposed construction is in accordance with the provisions of the
Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 1959 . The plan was sent to the
Municipal Board, Nathdwara. The plan has been approved by the resolution of the Municipal Board dated 20th January, 2005. The plan has been widely published by the Board. 24. At this stage it will be relevant to get acquainted with the financial resources of the Trust. As per the Balance Sheet of year 2004 the Trust has a fund of Rs.987,739,273.72 and has assets worth Rs.79,145,473.86. The Trust has an income of Rs.12-14
Crores per year. 25. As regards the suggestion for arrangement of Darshan in line of Temples of Lord Tirupati, Meenakshi, Shivaji and Ambaji it is stated that concept in all the temples are different from one at
Nathdwara. Temple at Nathdwara is considered to be a 'Haveli'
Nand Rai Ji with "Bal Swaroop" of Lord Krishna residing therein. There is a belief that people come there to serve Lord
Krishna. Since it is "Bal Swaroop" therefore, the temple cannot be kept open round the clock. "Darshan" for various glimpses showing different activities of Lord Krishna are made available for view of pilgrims and devotees and that also does not permit opening of Darshans for long time. This practice is in vogue not only at Shri Nathdwara temple, but in all the temples of Vallabh
Kul Sampradaya. 26. This Court with a view to redress the grievances of the individuals gave directions from time to time to be considered by the authorities of the Trust. This has given positive results. Some of the businessmen who have their shops in the main market providing a single entry to the temple are found to be adversely affected in the sense because of multiple entries other businessmen will also flourish reducing their business. Such thing is bound to happen. For the enrichment of such persons, development of the temple cannot be with-held. However, some of the objections raised deserve serious consideration. We are of the view that the construction of the six cottages near Kamal
Chowk with a view to maintain the purity of the temple cannot be approved. There is also a serious objection with respect to opening of Dakshin Mukha Dwar. This aspect is required to be reconsidered. An objection raised with respect to clockwise
Prikarma is also required to be considered. Attention is required to be given to improve the Parikrama area. On overall consideration, there is no substance in the allegations made against the second respondent. On the contrary, the record of proceedings shows that the second respondent is taking keen interest in the proper functioning of the temple. The Temple
Development Plan deserves to be approved with certain modification particularly the construction of the six cottages near
Kamal Chowk and opening of Gate on the southern side. 27. A suggestion has been made that the State of Rajasthan be directed to develop temple tourism around Nathdwara Temple.
The temples of Lord Shrinathji, Eklingnathji, Dwarkadish,
Kankroli, Geesiar and Charbhujanath, situated within a span of 50 Km or so on National Highway 8 or close to it are part of a chain that is commonly known as "Chardham of Mewar".
Lakhs of devotees visit these temples every year. All these temples are deeply and lively interlinked as there is a common belief that Darshan of Chardham satisfies a religious and devotional thirst of common people. Out of these four temples, the temple of Charbhjanath is maintained and controlled by the department of Devasthan of the Government of Rajasthan. This temple holds high esteem in the entire region of Mewar and
Marwar. According to folk lore Lord Shrinathji while traveling from Chopsani Jodhpur to Mewar accepted hospitality of
Charbhujaji at Godhbore. While welcoming Shrinathji Charbhujaji expressed in lighter way that their arrival will reduce the number of his devotees on which Shrinathji pleasantly responded that while Marwar and Mewar will accept his divinity the entire world will accept his (Shrinathji) divinity. Lord Charbhujaji being satisfied, proclaimed that any devotee after his Darshan if not present himself before him(Shrinathji) for Darshan his journey would be futile. Be that as it may, the temple of Charbhujanathji is about 48 Kms. away from Nathdwara. It is one of the oldest temple of Hindu Lord Vishnu. It was built in 1444 A.D. In village
Godhbore. It was repaired during the reign of Maharana Kumbha
(1433-1468 A.D.). Gurjar a community residing in the town manage the affairs of this temple and perform Pooja turn by turn. It is built of marble in conch shell shape. The glass work inside the temple imparts a beautiful look to the interior of the structure. The Four Arm deity of Charbhujanathji is mostly worship by Vasihnavites. 28. In view of aforesaid, we order as follows:-
(1) The respondents shall continue to make serious efforts for the proper management of the Nathdwara
Temple in the interest of the pilgrims;
(2) This Court is not inclined to interfere with the
Temple Development Programme of Phase I and
Phase II prepared by the Trust in pursuant to the directions of this Court except construction of six cottages near Kamal Chowk. While execution of Plan, the Trust will keep in view, as far as possible, the suggestions made by the Architect Shri Kamal
Mangal Das -Devendra Shah and Goswami Shyam
Manohar Lal Maharaj; Objection to Southern Gate shall be reconsidered;
(3) If there are any objection of any individual or organization in the matter of temple development such an application can be made to the Divisional
Commissioner, Udaipur, who will decide the same in consultation with the Town Planner or any other appropriate authority which he considers appropriate.
His decision will be final;
(4) Since the Temple Development Programme has been undertaken pursuant to the directions of this
Court, no civil court will have any jurisdiction to entertain any grievance with respect to implementation of Phase I and Phase II prepared by the Trust;
(5) The Secretary, Ministry of Devasthan,
Government of Rajasthan is directed to prepare a plan for development of temple tourism in consultation of other concern authorities around
Nathdwara Temple more particularly the Charbhuja
Temple. The Devasthan Commissioner will present the plan before this Court within a period of two months. The Temple Board will also give its reaction on the Plan and its contribution.
(6) The Trust will submit its progress report thrice a year. The first report shall be submitted to this Court in the month of August, 2005.
List on 22.8.2005.
(MANAK MOHTA) J. (N.N.MATHUR) J.
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