SHC allows Sikh rituals in Hindu temple
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday by the consent of representatives of Hindu and Sikh communities allowed Sikhs to perform their religious rituals at an allocated premises inside Karachi’s Swaminarayan Temple.
While disposing of a five-year old matter a two-member SHC bench headed by senior judge Justice Irfan Sadat, held that both petitioner and respondents sides have agreed that there would be no restrictions on followers of Baba Guru Nanak to carry out their religious rituals; petitioner or any other person would not create any hurdle in performance of such rituals; affairs of Guru Nanak Darbar would be run by the existing nine-member managing committee of the temple, however, no special religious functions or gatherings in the Guru Nanak Darbar would carried out without taking prior permission from the managing committee.
The petition was filed by Swaminarayan Temple Resident’s Welfare Association and its authorised representatives.
Impleading federal a provincial governments’ functionaries, UNESCO’s world heritage committee, Swaminarayan Temple Estate Trust and some Hindu residents of the temple, the petitioners submitted that Swami Shri Sahajanandji Maharaj who was born in Ayodhya, Utar Pardesh in1781 and also known as known as Shri Swaminarayan or Shreeji Maharaj was founder of Hindu sect Swaminarayan.
The petitioners submitted that disciples of Shreeji Maharaj are known as Acharya and followers of the sect as Satsangis. The temples of the sect and their estate are managed by the Acharya, who also hold spiritual seat of the founder of the sect, through the Trust in Ahmedabad.
The Swaminarayan Temple located on MA Jinnah was also being managed by the Trust in Ahmedabad, however, after the death of fifth Acharya in 1969 and following a long civil litigation a separate trust, Swaminarayan Temple Estate Trust, was formed in Karachi, the petitioners informed the court.
The court was informed that in 1994 the SHC had appointed a nine-member committee to manage the Swaminarayan Temple Estate Trust.
However, some members of the managing committee, who were not followers of Swaminarayan sect, had set-up a shrine of Baba Guru Nanak on the premises of the trust property, the petitioners’ counsel submitted.
Those members of the managing committee were also using the revenue generated from the religious functions and events of the Swaminarayan sect, for the promotion of Baba Guru Nanak sect, in an unauthorised manner, the counsel alleged.
The court was pleaded to direct the managing committee to strictly comply with the relevant laws, rules and regulations while discharging its duties.
They also sought a direction for the managing committee to remove the structures allegedly raised or erected by the respondents in violation of the relevant laws.
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