Vrindavan priest fined for allowing pooja in sanctum sanctorum of temple

A fine of Rs 1.40 lakh was imposed on a priest of the famous Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan after he allegedly allowed some visitors to carry out pooja in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine against the rule, temple authorities said.

Mathura: A fine of Rs 1.40 lakh was imposed on a priest of the famous Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan after he allegedly allowed some visitors to carry out pooja in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine against the rule, temple authorities said.

The penalty was imposed on priest Sumit Goswami for allowing seven pupils to worship in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine, temple management committee president Advocate Nandkishor Upmanyu said.

On failure to remit the fine within one week he will be disqualified from all facilities provided to him as the temple priest and will also be denied the right to vote in elections for the management committee members, Upmanyu said.

The priest had reportedly allowed seven of his pupils, four women and three men, to offer prayers in the sanctum sanctorum on January 13 despite the temple management's ban on entry of visitors in the zone.

A notice was issued to the priest immediately seeking his clarification on the issue, but after not getting a satisfactorily explanation for the act, a penalty, at the rate of Rs 20,000 per offender per day, was imposed on the priest in line with the punishment provision laid down by the management committee on November 30, 2013, Upmanyu further said.

Citing an Allahabad High Court ruling, Upmanyu said the law bars entry of more than four persons, including the temple priest and 'bhandari', into the sacred area of the temple.

Even President Pranab Mukherjee offered prayers in the temple premises just like a regular visitor when he had arrived here for the Nagpooja programme on November 16 last, Upmanyu added.

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