New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to intervene in the controversy stoked by Shankaracharya of Dwarkapeeth after he issued statements over worshipping Sai Baba.
The apex court further said that devotees of Sai Baba can file a civil or criminal case against Shankaracharya if their right to worship is hampered.
The ruling by the Supreme Court comes a month after a PIL was submitted before it seeking its direction to the Centre to restrain people from making derogatory statements against the saint.
The petitioner, Saidham Charitable Trust, which manages various temples in Maharashtra including that of Sai Baba, submitted that the government be ordered to restrain Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati and his followers not to make any statements against the saint. It also pleaded that he and his followers be not allowed to remove Sai Baba's idols from any temple across the country.
"The belief and religious sentiments of lakhs of devotees of the trust and also of crores of devotees of Shri Sai Baba located in India and outside have been irreparably hurt by the libelous, slanderous, defamatory, insulting and abusive language and words used by Shri Shankaracharyaji and his followers," the petition said.
It said despite such apparent abusive language used by Shankaracharya, the Centre or the state government have not taken any stern action to protect and respect the sentiments of lakhs of devotees of Shri Sai Baba.
(With PTI Inputs)