Cuttack: The Orissa High court today gave its stamp of approval to Shri Jagannath Temple Administration in demolishing all encroachments within 10 feet distance from the boundary wall of the 12th-century shrine to retain its majesty and splendour.
A division bench of Chief Justice C Nagappan and Justice Pradeep K Mohanty directed all the parties concerned to be present on March 29 at 11 am in the office of the chief administrator for measurement to be undertaken by the district administration to demolish the illegal structures.
With this order, the High Court`s stay on eviction drive around the temple imposed last year is now vacated.
The order said all illegal structures should be demolished within 15 days from March 29 and Archaeological Survey of India would complete all repair works of the Lion`s Gate (Singhadwar) of the temple within three months.
The HC also made it clear that no structure close to the wall should have height more than the boundary wall which stands five meters tall.
Following an earlier HC order, the temple authorities had issued notices to Pratihary Nijog (a body of major servitors) in March last year to demolish its office which was close to the boundary wall and stands taller than it.
The Pratihary Nijog moved the HC challenging the notice stating that its office was about 27 feet away from the boundary wall. The HC had then stayed the eviction drive.
During the adjudication of the petition, two HC judges had visited the temple to ascertain if there was any threat to the Lion`s Gate as perceived by many, including ASI.
Puri district collector had also in a report said the Lion`s Gate needed immediate repair as it posed a threat to the devotees visiting the temple.
The report also mentioned that the boundary wall became unsafe by pressure from the nearby Badachhata Mutt.
The collector had suggested immediate demolition of Pratihary Nijog office located between the gate and the mutt for safety reasons. Similar views were expressed by various other agencies.