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The Supreme Court today said it would hear on merit a plea raising the issue of protection of 'lingam' at ancient Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in the Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh. A bench comprising Justices Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar said the matter would be heard in March and allowed the 'mahant' (chief priest) of temple to intervene in the case. The apex court had earlier taken strong exception over the display boards at the temple which had attributed the new worshipping norms as directions of the top court. It had said the apex court had never given any direction to implement the new norms of worshipping, which were actually submitted by Mahakaleshwar Mandir Management Committee in consultation with an expert committee set up by the court. It had directed the temple management committee to immediately remove these display boards and even asked the media to report the issue with caution. The bench had said the petition has been entertained by the court only to preserve the 'lingam'. As per the new norms, the devotees was permitted a fixed amount of water measuring 500ml in an appropriate small pot per person for Jalabhishek (worshipping by offering water). The resolutions had said that the water for Jalabhishek shall be taken from the Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine installed during Simhastha (religious congregation) in 2016, for which a connection shall be provided near the sanctum sanctorum. The new resolution said during the famous Bhasma Aarti, half of the 'lingam' was covered with cloth.
From now on, it would be fully covered with dry cotton cloth during the prayers. On August 25, the apex court had constituted an expert committee to survey and analyse the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlingam and prepare a report stating the rate at which the deterioration in its size was taking place and the measures to prevent it. The committee was also directed to study other structures and the temple, and submit recommendations on the steps for overall improvement of entire premises and its preservation.