Two petitions filed at Supreme Court against Pashupati golden jalahari casePrime minister had pledged Rs 300 million to install a golden jalahari at the temple.
Two separate writ petitions have been filed at the Supreme Court against the government’s decision to replace Pashupatinath temple’s "jalahari" with a golden one.
Narottam Baidya, former treasurer of the Pashupati Area Development Trust who is also a Province 3 assembly member, and advocate Nikita Dhungana filed the petitions on Monday.
Both petitioners have named Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, also the patron of the trust; Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, minister for culture, and Pradeep Dhakal, member secretary of the trust and Guthi Sansthan, as the defendants.
The petitioners have argued that the government’s decision goes against the Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 2013, which states that structures over 100 years old must be preserved in their original design.
“The government’s decision also violates the UNESCO World Heritage sites’s criteria and it goes against the spirit of secularism. The government is not allowed to distribute money in the name of religion,” Baidya told the Post over the phone.
Meanwhile, Dhungana has raised the issue of the government not following the Public Procurement Act.
On January 25, Oli had visited Pashupatinath temple to perform a special puja. There, he had announced that his government will provide Rs 300 million to the temple to install a new golden Jalahari and instructed the Ministry of Culture to allocate the amount.
Since then the Pashupati Area Development Trust has been working to install a golden Jalahari to replace the silver one under tight security arrangements provided by the Nepal Army.
The government's decision has been widely criticised.
Oli pledging a large sum of money from the state coffers to the Pashupatinath temple also courted controversy for the timing of the announcement—after his decision to dissolve the House of Representatives and announcement of snap polls.
Notwithstanding the criticism, the trust is planning to install a golden Jalahari at the temple before the Mahashivaratri festival, which falls on March 11.
It has been conducting Kshama Puja (forgiveness rituals) by bringing over two dozen priests from India.