Amendment to the Jagannath Temple Act
- January 6, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Amendment to the Jagannath Temple Act
Subject – Art and Culture
Context – Odisha state cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Sri Jagannath Temple Act of 1954, simplifying issues pertaining to land owned by the Jagannath Temple.
- Odisha state cabinet approved amendments to the Sri Jagannath Temple Act of 1954, simplifying issues pertaining to land owned by the Jagannath Temple.
- Following the amendment, the temple administration and concerned officials now have the power to sell or lease out temple land, without any approval from the state government.
- Earlier, people who had occupied or were in possession of the temple land for a long period of time had to approach the state government for sale or transfer of the land.
What is the Jagannath Temple Act, 1954?
- In the year 1806, the then British government had issued regulations for management of the Jagannath temple which was referred to as the Juggernaut temple by the colonial rulers.
- Under these regulations, pilgrims who visited the temple were expected to pay taxes. The British government was entrusted with appointing senior priests at the temple.
- It was only after India gained Independence that the state of Odisha formally introduced the Jagannath Temple Act in the year 1952, which came into effect in 1954.
- The Act contains provision on land rights of the temple, duties of the sevayat, administrative powers of the Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, rights and privileges of the Raja of Puri and other persons connected with the management and administration of the temple.
What does the recent amendment propose?
- The recent amendment approved by the state cabinet now decentralizes the power to settle land related issues of the temple.
- The cabinet has delegated power to temple administration and concerned officials for sale and lease of land in name of Jagannath temple.
- Unlike earlier, no approval will be required from the state government for the process. Through the sale of land, used and unused, the temple will also generate additional corpus funds.
Who can purchase land belonging to the temple?
- Around 60,426 acres of land in the name of Lord Jagannath, has been identified in 24 districts across the state. Over 395 acres of land has been identified in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar as well.
- But these lands have been occupied by people or even institutes like schools and hospitals for more than five decades. After the temple administration identified these lands, in 2003 it proposed that the occupants can buy the land or take it on lease from the temple rather than driving them away.
- So the land in this case can be bought by people who are already occupying land owned by the temple and have no land rights to claim ownership. The temple administration also allows sale of land which has remained unused to eligible persons for setting up of schools, hospitals, etc.
- The temple is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King AnatavarmanChodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
- Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘YamanikaTirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
- This temple was called the “White Pagoda” and is a part of Char Dham pilgrimages (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram).
- There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western ‘VyaghraDwara and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate.
- In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.
- Jagannath PuriYatrais the most famous Vaishnavite rituals observed in India and abroad.
- On the occasion, devotees pray to three deities – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Lordess Subhadra