The Supreme Court on Monday sought to know why the government in a secular state be involved in running and managing religious places, after noting that pilgrims going to Puri's Jagannath temple were being harassed and mistreated.
"It is a matter of perspective. I don't know why government officials should run and manage religious places," asked Justice S.A. Bobde sitting with Justice S. Abdul Nazeer.
He noted that "most people who go there (Jagannath temple) come back harassed, mistreated and (they) have no voice".
As Justice Bobde flagged the issue, senior counsel Gopal Shankarnarayanan urged the court to address the question on "how far the government in a secular state can run and manage the temple".
The court said that the lawyers could touch this aspect in the next hearing on May 13.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the Sabarimala temple in Kerala was being run by the Devaswom Board and in Tamil Nadu, since 1930, the Hindu religious Endowment Board was running and managing many temples.