The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the takeover of the renowned Raghunath temple by the Himachal Pradesh government. A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and D Y Chandrachud also issued notices to the state government on a petition filed by Maheshwar Singh, the scion of the erstwhile Kullu royal family. Singh, who is the sitting MLA from Kullu and caretaker of the temple, had filed the SLP against the Himachal High Court order rejecting his plea challenging the government notification of July 26, 2016, taking over the temple administration.
In their plea before the High Court, Singh and others had contended that the shrine was a private property and that the rules of natural justice had not been followed in the takeover. He stated that the royal family were the traditional keepers of the historic temple and termed the takeover as illegal, arbitrary and against the provisions of the Constitution. Initially, the High Court stayed the notification, but subsequently rejected Singh’s petition saying it was not maintainable under Article 226 of the Constitution. Singh said the High Court had not educated the petition on merits and had erroneously held that the petitioners should have filed a civil suit against notification.