Advocate Anay Srivastav’s letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court regarding licensing of shops in Jyotirlinga Shri Mallikarjuna Swamy Devasthanam in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh !
New Delhi – A Bench of Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud and Nagaratna in the Supreme Court has recently ruled that non-Hindus could not be barred on the grounds of religion in the auction process or licensing of shops at Jyotirlinga Shri Mallikarjun Swamy Devasthanam in Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool District. Anay Srivastava, an advocate from Prayagraj, has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking reconsideration of the decision of the Chief Justices to grant licenses to non-Hindus for shops in the Hindu temple.
The letter said the Supreme Court should consider the following points while reconsidering its judgment,
1. Individuals from other communities are not allowed to work for livelihood in places of worship or places of prayers of any other religion, including minorities.
2. The right to livelihood is a fundamental right like the right to freedom of religion, but this will only interfere with the right to propagate religion based on the right to livelihood.
3. The city of Srisailam is classified as Jyotirlinga and Shakti Peeth. The entire city is sacred and is considered part of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Therefore, people of other religions should not be allowed to spread their religion in such a sacred area.
4. Non-Hindu shop owners will display pictures of their religion in their shops. That is their temperament, and it will be against the religious sentiments of Hindu temples and devotees.
5. Non-Hindu shop owners will pray or offer Namaz in their shops and in the space they occupy. It may lead to a law-and-order situation.
6. Possibility of non-Hindu shop owners celebrating festivals of their religion in the space allotted to them in the Holy precincts of the temple cannot be ruled out. It may seem offensive to Hindu pilgrims. If objected to, non-Hindu shop owners may celebrate their festivals even more boldly, which may lead to an adverse effect. There are many examples of such incidents in the past.
7. Non-Hindu shop owners pollute the religious atmosphere in the temple area by gathering people of their religion.
8. Some non-Hindu shopkeepers have no respect for Hindu Deities and customs. They misuse the rented space to spread hatred in those Holy places.
9. There is no guarantee that the items purchased by Hindu pilgrims from non-Hindu shopkeepers for offering to the Deity would be fit to be offered to the Deity. Since these non-Hindu shopkeepers have no respect for the Hindu Deities, it is uncertain whether they could have properly handled the items meant for offering to the Deity.
10. Suspicion may arise whether the flowers, garlands, or prasad bought from non-Hindu shopkeepers to be offered to the Deity are indeed fit to be offered to the Deity or the shopkeeper has mixed some forbidden material in it.
11. It is a fundamental right of a person to promote and propagate his own religion on the premises of a temple belonging to that religion and he should be assured of it. It is disrespectful to the religious sentiments of Hindus and therefore, it is reprehensible for the State Government to give license to a non-Hindu person to have a shop selling material to be offered to the Hindu Deities.
Considering the aforementioned points, it would be appropriate from the point of view of the judiciary to refer the matter to a higher Bench for reconsideration of the judgment passed by the Bench of Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud and Justice Nagaratna on 17th December 2021.