Taking a serious note of the alleged exploitation of the devotees by the "sevaks" (servitors) at the temple, the Supreme Court had yesterday issued a slew of directions to prevent any such malpractices and mismanagement.
In a notification, the temple administration also requested the devotees to make their offerings or donations either in the "Hundi" (donation box) or at the temple head office, branch offices and temple information centres and take a receipt, instead of handing those over to the servitors.
Copies of the signed notification have been pasted at several places in the temple.
Odisha Law Minister Pratap Jena said, "The state government will examine the directions of the Supreme Court. We will abide by the rulings."
However, a section of the servitors is contemplating to request the apex court to reconsider its direction as a large number of them survive on the donations given by the devotees.
"A number of servitors' families eke out their living from the earnings of the temple. If the devotees do not give any donation, they may face difficulties. We are opposed to servitors demanding a certain amount of money from the devotees, but what should be done if someone donates money on his own?" asked senior servitor Ramakrushna Dasmohapatra.
The Supreme Court had yesterday said it was of prime importance that all devotees had a hassle-free visit to the Jagannath temple and the offerings made by them were not misused.
It has directed the Odisha government to study the management schemes of other important shrines such as the one of Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir, the Somnath temple in Gujarat, the Golden Temple in Punjab, the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh and the Dharmasthala temple in Karnataka.
A vacation bench of justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan, which passed several directions, said proper management of the pilgrimage centres in a country of great importance was a matter of public interest.
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