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Ordinance For Temple Act Change

Bhubaneswar: Following the decision of the State Cabinet, the State Government has amended through an ordinance the Sub-section 2 under Section 16 of the Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1954 to decentralize the power to lease out, sell or mortgage land properties or other immovable properties of Lord Jagannath.   

“Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the immovable property taken possession by the Committee may be leased out, sold or otherwise alienated by it, subject to such condition and exception and in such manner as may be prescribed,” is the new provision included in the amended Act.

However, the same Subsection in the old Act says, “Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, no immovable property taken possession by the Committee shall be leased out for more than five years or mortgaged, sold or otherwise alienated except with the previous sanction of the State Government.”

With this amendment, the immovable properties of the temple can now be leased out for any time or sold out without the approval of the State Government.

However, the Department of Law, in consultation with Temple Administration and other stakeholders, will come up with a detailed procedure for this purpose, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Law has already started the exercise to amend Shri Jagannath Temple Rules, 1960 to facilitate smooth implementation of the amended provision in the Act.

A meeting in this regard was held here recently under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Law, Dillip Kumar Mishra.

It was decided in the meeting to amend the Temple Rules to accommodate the salient features of the Uniform Police of SJTA, keeping in view the legal sanctity and force attached to a Rule.

Detail discussion was held on the Government officials upon whom jurisdiction will be conferred for disposal of the land settlement/alienation cases, procedure of disposal, manner of valuation etc.

The Department of Law has requested the SJTA to provide details of land already recorded in the name of Shri Jagannath Temple Management Committee.

 Another meeting is scheduled to be held on January 18 for this purpose, the officials informed.  

The Shree Jagannath Temple has about 60,426 acres of land in 24 districts of Odisha and another 395.252 acres of land in other States like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar.