Puri Srimandir Reforms: Supreme Court Appoints Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar As Amicus Curiae

**Bhubaneswar:** The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed senior advocate and former Solicitor General of India, Ranjit Kumar, as the Amicus Curiae to assist in implementation of the proposed reforms in the Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri in Odisha.

The appointment of Ranjit was necessitated after Gopal Subramanium stepped down as Amicus Curiae in November last year. In a letter to the apex court Registrar, Subramanium stated that ‘due to certain unavoidable personal circumstances’ he would not able to continue as the Amicus Curiae in the matter.

Ranjit was appointed the Amicus Curiae by a three-member division bench of the apex court comprising Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, Justice Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah and Justice S Abdul Nazeer. The bench also entrusted senior lawyer Priya Hingorani to assist Kumar in his work and deferred hearing of the temple reforms to February 5.

The Supreme Court, while hearing a petition on June 8 and July 5 in regard to the exploitation of devotees by the sevayats and mismanagement in the 12th century shrine, had directed the temple administration to implement 12 proposals as a part of disciplinary reforms.

Though the servitors of temple came to consensus on nine proposals, they did not agree on three proposals including abolition of hereditary appointment of servitors, prohibition of collection of money for Annadan Atika by servitors and amendment of Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1954.

Later, the apex court appointed Subramanium as Amicus Curiae to assist in the matter. He was scheduled to submit a report after considering the suggestions of all these stakeholders. Subsequently, the next hearing of the case was scheduled to be held in second week of January 2019.