Div Com appointed as Receiver for Machail Mata Shrine
JAMMU, Dec 31: In a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate Ajay Kumar Sharma, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan today appointed Divisional Commissioner Jammu as Receiver for Machail Mata Shrine and directed the Chief Secretary to constitute Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into financial irregularities, assets of Sarv Shakti Sevak Sanstha and other cases relating to the shrine.
After hearing Advocate Aditya Sharma for the PIL whereas Advocate General DC Raina for the State, the DB observed, “large amounts of monetary donations as well as valuables in addition to management of immovable properties of the shrine are involved. In order to enable this court to pass meaningful and effective orders and also to ensure that the property of the shrine is preserved and optimally managed, it is essential first to have an inventory thereof prepared”.
Accordingly, DB appointed Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as Local Commissioner and Receiver in the matter with the direction to forthwith inventorise the properties and assets of the Mata Machail Shrine as well as the Yatra and place a report in this regard before this court. DB further directed the Divisional Commisisoner to take the entire record and assets of the Shrine and the Yatra into his custody and manage the utilization thereof.
DB also directed all banks, persons and authorities, where the Shrine and Trusts are holding accounts and assets, which may include fixed deposit receipts, bank lockers, bank accounts or where any property of the Trusts is preserved or stored, to ensure that complete information and access is given to Divisional Commissioner to enable him to prepare a complete inventory in terms of the present order.
“It shall be open for Sanjeev Verma to appoint such persons and officials as he may deem fit and necessary for the purpose of his effectively discharging the responsibilities under this order”, the DB added.
The DB also directed Chief Secretary to constitute a Special Investigation Team and place its particulars before court so that appropriate orders transferring the criminal cases for investigation to such SIT can be made.
The DB also granted liberty to Receiver to seek appropriate directions from the court regarding any difficulties or obstructions caused to him in discharging of his functions. The State was directed to ensure that adequate personnel and machinery are made available to Divisional Commissioner for discharging his functions under this order.
“While there remain conflicting claims with regard to the control of the management as well as the properties and assets by the private respondents, which form part of the Shrine and the Trusts, however, there is no dispute between the parties that the affairs relating to the Shrine and the Yatra are hopelessly mis-managed”, the DB observed, adding “we are informed that in respect of certain illegal offences, several criminal cases are also pending”.
About constitution of Board, the DB observed, “this is a matter which brooks no delay at all as such State Government is directed to forthwith examine the matter and urgently take a view thereon. This court shall be informed about the decision of the State Government on the next date of hearing”.