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Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt, Represented by his Holiness Subudhendra Theeratharu, by His Power of Attorney, R.K. Vadeenra, Andhra Pradesh v/s The Deputy Commissioner, Koppal & Others

    Writ Petition No. 102614 of 2022 (GM-RES)

    Decided On, 15 July 2022

    At, High Court of Karnataka Circuit Bench At Dharwad

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R. DEVDAS

    For the Petitioner: Arun L. Neelopant, Phaniraj Kashyap, Aravind Sharma, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1, R2 & R4, Vidyavathi M. Kotturshettar, Addl. Advocate General, Shivaprabhu S. Hiremath, AGA, R3, Amit Kumar Deshpande, Senior Counsel, Satish Raichur, Advocate.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: This Writ Petition is filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the order dated 06.07.2022 of the Deputy Commissioner which is produced at Annexure-A & etc.)

Order (Oral):

1. The petitioner-Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt is before this Court aggrieved by the order of the respondent-Tahasildar, Gangavathi who has invoked the powers vested under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. enforcing the provisions of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. at the island Nava Brindavana Gadde between 13.07.2022 from 5.00 p.m. to 21.07.2022 till 8.00 a.m.

2. It is the contention of the petitioner-Mutt that the devotees of the Mutt intended to perform Aradhana of Sri H.H.Jayatheertharu between 17th to 19th of July, 2022 at the Nava Brindavan Gadde which is within the jurisdiction of the Tahasildar, Gangavathi. However, the petitioner-Mutt made a representation to the Deputy Commissioner, Koppal, seeking Police protection to ensure that there is no disruption of law and order. In the meanwhile, representations were also given by the respondent No.3-Sri Uttaradhi Mutt to the Deputy Commissioner stating that the parties are already in dispute and the matter was pending consideration at the hands of this court in R.S.A. No. 100446/2015. The Deputy Commissioner requested the Assistant Commissioner, Koppal to make an enquiry and submit his report. It appears that the representatives of the two mutts went before the Assistant Commissioner and both the parties appraised the Assistant Commissioner regarding their claims and grievances. The Assistant Commissioner wrote back to the Deputy Commissioner on 05.07.2022 stating that on his assessment, it would not be possible to hold the Aradhana without disrupting the peace and tranquility of public. Following the same, the Deputy Commissioner wrote back to the Assistant Commissioner and the Police Sub Inspector, Gangavati Sub Division that even after trying to resolve the dispute between the two Mutts, it was found that it would not be possible to permit the petitioner-Mutt to hold the Aradhana without disturbing the peace and tranquility. Therefore, it was directed that while permitting the Mutts to carry on their day to day activities as was directed by this Court by several interim orders, appropriate action should be initiated by the authorities to maintain peace and tranquility of the public in the Nava Brindavan area between 14.07.2022 to 20.07.2022. Following the same, the Tahasildar, Gangavathi proceeded to pass impugned order under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C.

3. Learned Senior Counsels Sri K. Suman and Sri Captain Aravind Sharma have made their submission on behalf of the petitioner-Mutt. The learned senior counsels have submitted that several interim orders have been passed by this Court in R.S.A. No. 100446/2015 making arrangements for conducting such Aradhanas at the Nava Brindavan Gadde and therefore the petitioner Mutt would invite similar orders at the hands of this Court making arrangements for conducting aradhana. The learned counsels would submit that although respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt had never conducted a Mahimotsava of Sri Raghuvaryaru, nevertheless only with a sinister motive respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt proposed to hold Mahimotsava during the same period. Nevertheless it is submitted that if similar arrangements were made by this Court as was made at the earlier occasions permitting both the Mutts to hold the Aradhana, the petitioner-Mutt would be satisfied. It is also submitted that the subsequent developments and the stand taken by the respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt clearly shows that the Uttaradi Mutt had no difficulty in holding the Mahimotsava at a different venue and the same was announced in the newspapers. The newspaper clippings are produced before this Court to support the contention of the learned counsels for the petitioner that the respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt later decided to hold the Mahimotsava on 14th and 15th at Sri Channabasaveshwara Swamy Kalyana Mantap at Gangavathi and between July 16th to 20th at Hosapete. Therefore, it is submitted that when the respondent No.3-Uttaradhi Mutt had made alternative arrangements to hold the Mahimotsava at a different place, the question of there being any altercations between the devotees would not arise. The statement that was made earlier is reiterated at the hands of the learned counsels for the petitioners that the petitioner-Mutt would welcome the respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt to conduct Mahimotsava at the Nava Brindavan Gadde along with the petitioner-Mutt.

4. Per contra, learned Senior Counsel Sri Amit Kumar Deshpande appearing for the respondent No3-Uttaradhi Mutt submits that it is not disputed by the parties that in the matter of claim of rights over the Brindavanas, the parties were already before this Court in R.S.A. No. 100446/2015. Learned Senior Counsel submits that earlier the parties sought for interim directions at the hands of this Court in the matter of conducting Aradhanas and more particularly the Aradhanas were conducted in respect of three other Brindavanas of Sri Padmanabha Teertharu, Sri Ravindra Teertharu and Sri Vageesha Teertharu. It is for the first time that the petitioner-Mutt is seeking to conduct Aradhana of Sri Jaya Teertharu. It has been the contention of the respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt that the Brindavan of Sri Jaya Teertharu is situated at Malkhed in Kalburgi District and the Uttaradi Mutt had been conducting Aradhana of Sri Jaya Teertharu at Malkhed every year.

5. The learned Senior Counsel submits that when the parties are already before this Court with rival claims with regard to the right to perform the Poojas at the Nava Brindavan Gadde and the parties have sought directions at the hands of this Court for conducting Aradhanas and this Court had made such arrangements earlier to ensure that the devotees peacefully take part in the Aradhanas and perform the Poojas, the petitioner Mutt could not have proceeded to take a unilateral decision that it would conduct Ardahana of Sri Jaya Teertharu at Nava Brindavan Gadde.

6. The learned Senior Counsel would submit that since the Uttaradi Mutt and its devotees believe that the Brindavan of Sri Jaya Teertharu is situated at Malkhed, Kalburgi, if the petitioner- Mutt conducts Aradhana of Sri Jaya Teertharu at Nava Brindavan Gadde at Koppal, firstly it would not only affect the belief of the devotees, but it would also be transgressing the earlier directions given by this Court which were passed to ensure that there is no public disorder. Even otherwise, it is submitted that the petitioner- Mutt should have in all fairness filed an application before this Court in the pending R.S.A. No. 100446/2015 and this Court could have gone into the records and passed necessary orders if it was convinced that the petitioner-Mutt was entitled to conduct the Aradhana of Sri Jayatheertharu at the Nava Brindavana.

7. The learned Senior Counsel would add that a decision was taken by the Uttaradhi Mutt to hold Mahimotsava at a different place, consequent to the impugned orders passed by the District Authorities. The learned Senior Counsel would therefore submit that the respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt is before this Court to bring to the notice of this Court that this writ petition filed at the hands of the petitioner-Mutt under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is required to be considered in the light of the disputes already pending between the parties and interim orders passed by this Court making interim arrangements.

8. Learned Senior counsel would ultimately submit that respondent No.3-Uttaradi Mutt does not want to create any law and order situation and it does not want the devotees, be it the devotees following the Uttaradi Mutt or the Raghavendra Mutt to be at loggerheads on the street. In other words, it is sought to be contended that the petitioner-Mutt should not be permitted to take an unilateral decision that there is no dispute insofar as the other six Brindavanas are concerned and therefore the parties are free to do whatever they want. When the dispute surrounds the entire property where the Brindavanas are situated and time and again interim orders are passed by this Court in order to maintain peace and tranquility of the vicinity and the general public, the petitioner should not be permitted to conduct the Aradhana without the permission of this Court.

9. Having heard the learned senior counsels and on perusing the petition papers, this Court finds that there is nothing on record which would show that earlier such Aradhana of Sri Jaya Theertharu was conducted or permitted to be conducted by the petitioner-Mutt at the Nava Brindavan Gadde. When it is an admitted fact that a dispute in respect of the Brindavanas are pending consideration at the hands of this Court in R.S.A. No. 100446/2015 and several interim orders are passed by this Court to ensure that some arrangement is made permitting the two Mutts to conduct Aradhanas and more particularly in respect of only three Brindavanas, the petitioner Mutt could not have ventured to take a unilateral decision to conduct Aradhana without permission of this Court in R.S.A. No. 100446/2015. The petitioner-Mutt was required to approach this Court by filing appropriate application seeking permission of the Court to conduct Aradhana at

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the Nava Brindavan Gadde. The question as to whether the dispute in R.S.A. No. 100446/2015 is restricted only to three Brindavanas or it spreads across the entire island is something which cannot be gone into by this Court in this writ proceedings. 10. Moreover, in this writ petition filed under Article 226 and 227 what is required to be considered is whether there is any impropriety in the impugned orders enforcing Section 144 in the Nava Brindavan Gadde during the days mentioned therein. The District administration is well within its powers to impose the sanction contained under Section 144 Cr.P.C. to ensure public peace and tranquility. When the authorities have found that conducting of the Ardahana in such a situation has all the potential of disturbing the public peace, the authorities are well within their powers to impose sanction under Section 144 of Cr.P.C. 11. For the reasons stated above, this Court is convinced that there is no merit in the writ petition. Accordingly, the writ petition stands dismissed.
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