Orissa High Court Seeks Affidavit From SJTA On Ratna Bhandar Opening

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday asked the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to file an affidavit regarding the reopening of ‘Ratna Bhandar’ of the 12th century shrine in the pilgrim town of Puri.

The court directed the SJTA to submit the affidavit mentioning for how long the ‘Ratna Bhandar’, the treasury of Shree Jagannath temple, has not been opened and its reason, according to reports.

A bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar passed the order while hearing a petition seeking steps for taking stock of the properties and valuables inside the Ratna Bhandar of Lord Jagannath temple in Puri.

“The court would like to direct the temple administration to file an affidavit in this regard. The affidavit is to be filed within four weeks,” the CJ said.

The court has fixed January 5, 2023 for the next hearing.

During hearing on Tuesday, the amicus curiae submitted a report in connection with the current status of Jagamohan and Nata Mandir before the High Court. In his report, he mentioned that necessary repair works have not been carried out and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) needs to complete its work by March 31, 2023.

The Shree Jagannath temple has at least two chambers of its treasury.

Demand for opening the Ratna Bhandar is being made by many including leaders of opposition Congress and BJP who want an immediate inventory of items stored in the treasury of Lord Jagannath temple.

The ‘Bahar Bhandar’ (outer chamber) stores ornaments used by the deities on a daily basis, while many pieces of jewellery are kept in the inner chamber of the treasury, according to temple sources.

An attempt was made to open the inner chamber of ‘Ratna Bhandar’ in April 2018 following a directive of the Orissa High Court, but it was not successful as keys were not found at that time. A team, comprising ASI officials, priests and others, then carried out an inspection from outside.

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