Datta Peeta Conflict – Appeal against method of worship at Baba Budangiri Datta Peeta dismissed: Order to continue worship according to both religions

Bangalore: A Divisional Bench of the High Court on Monday dismissed the appeal filed by Syed Ghaus Mohiuddin Shah Qadri challenging the manner of worship at the Baba Budangiri Datta Peetha.

Thereby, the division bench headed by Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Vijayakumar A. Patil upheld the order given by the single member bench on March 19, 2018. As per the direction of the court in 2022, the new order issued by Mujawar and priests according to the traditions of both religions is currently in force and the court has approved its continuation. So, the decades-long struggle over the method of worship seems to have reached a logical point.

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Judgment as desired by the Constitution

The landmark of our constitution is to eliminate all religion, gender, caste, superior and inferior and build an equal society. In this background, the elements from Article 25 to 30 of the Constitution have been included. “Any person may practice, practice and propagate any religion of his choice subject to public order, morality and health under Article 25(1),” the division bench asserted in its 51-page judgment.

Also, according to Article 26, religious centers have to be protected by the government. The state government is aware of this sensitivity and has taken steps to manage it in consultation with the representatives of both religions. The committee formed by the government has been managing the affairs of the religious center without complaint from any religion. The court also said that the actions taken after the court order were unilateral and violation of fundamental rights was not raised by any society.

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The Hindu and Muslim communities are a fresh example of true secularism by their behavior. Also, the Court is also cautious about the traditions and rituals of religious centres. So, courts generally do not interfere in such matters. Especially when it comes to fundamental rights among devotees. Therefore, the court does not want to interfere in this matter,” the bench opined.

As there is no dispute between members of the Hindu and Muslim community at present, it is good to put an end to the dispute that arose five decades ago. Therefore, the court said that there was no need to interfere with the decision taken by the single member bench. Jagdish Baliga had argued for the Hindu organization.

Background of the case

In 2018, the then state government had ordered the appointment of Muslim cleric Syed Ghaus Mohiddeen to perform the puja rituals at the Dattatreya Peetha. A single member bench of the High Court had quashed it and returned the case to the government. Also, on September 28, 2021, it was directed that the case should be considered afresh without taking into account the report given by the high-level committee constituted on the case. Gaus Mohiddeen filed an appeal challenging this verdict.

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While the appeal came up for hearing on 22nd August 2022, the Cabinet had taken a decision on 1st June 2022 to allow the performance of puja rituals as per Islamic and Hindu traditions in Dattatreya Peetha. It has been ordered on June 19, 2022 to appoint a Mujavar and a priest to perform the puja at the Dattatreya Peetha. Also, the government informed that a temple management committee comprising people of all religions has been formed to monitor the worship activities.

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