SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
M.A. No.1235 OF 2019 IN
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4676 OF 2018
MANDIR COMMITTEE, UJJAIN (M.P.) & ORS. ..RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
ARUN MISHRA, J.
- This Court is monitoring the compliance of the judgment and order
passed by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 4676/2018 on 02.05.2018. We
have appointed an Expert Committee consisting of experts of
Archaeological Survey of India and Geological Survey of India concerning
the prevention of erosion of Shivalinga in Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple at
Ujjain. The Expert Team visited Ujjain on 19.01.2019. Its Report
indicates that there was erosion of Shivalinga after the last inspection,
and it is a continuing process. The last inspection was made earlier in
- The time gap was short when the inspection was made. As such,
the extent of further erosion was not measured. However, the facts
remain that there was some erosion of the Shivalingam. We have vide
order dated 19.08.2020 called for the Action Taken Report from the
Temple Committee. The Temple Committee has submitted the response
to the various measures pointed out by the Committee of the Experts in
the inspection report dated 19.01.2020. Since it has been noted that the
deterioration and erosion of Lingam is a continuing process, the
photographs of July 2020 indicate that there was further erosion of the
Lingam. A patch of Shivlinga towards the side of the deity of Shri
Kartikeyan is quite visible. The matter is of grave concern as due to
reckless offerings, the Lingam of Omkareshwar Temple was destroyed.
The Report indicates that the pH value of Bhasma Aarti stands at 10.51,
which is required to be improved and is reactive to Cryptocrystalline
siliceous cementing material of orthoquartzite at room temperature and
causing deterioration in Jyotirlingam. Sanitation and drainage were
required to be improved. There was a mechanical erosion also of the
Lingam due to the weight of Mund Mala and Serpakarnahas. Though
their weight has been reduced to half, mechanical abrasion takes place
due to their existing weight. It was also suggested that the rubbing of
the Lingam by the devotees be strictly banned. It was also reported that
there was modern style construction made in the temple premises, which
needs to be removed. It was also pointed out that the modern
construction within the temple premises was in progress, which was
required to be stopped and removed. The necessity was also felt to
restore the original work. The walls were painted with colours, which
was giving a bad look to the ancient heritage place. There were additions
in the form of eyesore painting inside the temple, which were yet to be
removed. It was reported that ghee, milk, curd, and honey are regular in
the offering. The Temple Management Committee has decided to provide
pure and natural offering material to pilgrims. There was a necessity for
a periodical review of the remedial measures.
- The stand of the Temple Committee is that during Bhasma Aarti,
the cloth is covered on Shivalinga and is cleaned with RO water after
that. They are regulating the entry into the Garbh Griha, and during the
COVID pandemic, no access is permitted. They have been restoring the
original work, which is in progress and will be completed within three
months. Concerning eyesore paintings, their removal is in the process
and would be completed within three months. The Temple Committee
has decided to meet monthly to do a review.
- A Report dated 28.07.2019 indicated that Chandranageshwar
Temple in the premises was also not in good shape, and repair work was
required. Its roof has become weak.
- The Temple Committee pointed out that there is a necessity of
further inspection by the experts’ team, as the last inspection was made
1½ years ago. The team of experts is located at Bhopal. They can visit
the temple at any time. Periodic inspection by the Expert Committee is
necessary for the remedial measures and to prevent erosion and to
preserve the temple structure. To ensure that there was no rubbing of
Shivalinga, the Poojaries (Janeupati, Khutpati), Purohits, and their
authorized representatives be directed to ensure that no visitors or
devotees rub the Shivalinga. There should be a video recording of the
entire process, and it should be preserved at least for six months. The
Temple Committee shall provide water from Koti Thirth Kund filtered and
purified to maintain the required pH value and shall also provide milk
from its resources so that pure milk is offered to the deity. No visitor
shall be allowed to offer Panchamrita to Shivalinga.
- It was pointed out that during COVID19, visitors and devotees are
not permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum. But in our opinion, at
the same time, customary Poojaries and Purohits must perform rituals
as they know the rituals and are expert in pooja and archana. When the
Temple Committee prepares the details of rituals, customary Poojaries
and Purohits must be associated with the Committee to render proper
help and guidance in the various matters relating to the temple. Of late,
it is seen that unfortunately the performance of necessary rituals is the
most neglected aspect in the temples, and new Poojaries do not
understand them; the same should not be the state of affairs. There is no
scope for commercialization. The myriad religious rituals and
ceremonies are to be performed regularly. We cannot direct what kind of
poojaarchana rituals should be performed, but no doubt, they should be
done regularly by the experts in the field. Accordingly, we direct that the
Temple Committee acts in the manner described above.
- Concerning the temple structure’s stability, the Temple Committee
has pointed out that on 31.07.2019, this Court directed the Central
Government to get the temple and various structures inspected by CBRI,
Roorkee. The CBRI visited the temple in September 2019 and submitted
a structural assessment proposal and wanted 12 months to submit the
project report. It has claimed a sum of Rs. 41.30 Lakhs as project
charges, to be paid in advance. Prayer has been made that this Court
may direct the Central Government to bear the expenses of Rs.41.30
Lakhs, to be paid to CBRI. The CBRI may be required to submit its
project report within a reasonable time. Shri Tushar Mehta, learned
Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Union of India, has agreed
that the Central Government would be bearing the expenses of Rs.41.30
Lakhs to be paid to CBRI, Roorkee.
- It is also submitted on behalf of the Temple Committee that it is
necessary to undertake repairs and maintenance and other construction
activities within the temple premises and further, as suggested by CBRI.
The State or Central Government may be directed to contribute adequate
funds for that purpose, including for the preservation of
Chandranageshwar Temple. The Temple Committee has also prayed that
encroachment within the area of 500 mtrs. from the temple are required
to be removed, as recommended by the Expert Committee. The
concerned authorities should remove the encroachments and prohibit
the construction, otherwise than essential facilities for the public and
- The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State of Madhya
Pradesh has placed on record a detailed plan prepared by the Ujjain
Smart City Limited (USCL) for the comprehensive development of Shri
Mahakaleshwar Temple and surrounding areas. The project is named as
“Mahakaal Rudrasagar Integrated Development Approach” (MRIDA).
Letter dated 27.08.2020 issued by CEO, Ujjain Smart City Ltd. to the
Collector is placed on record, pointing out various developments
proposed for the development in Phase I and Phase II of the
- Considering the facts and circumstances of the Report submitted
by the Experts Committee dated 19.01.2019 and the Report of the
Temple Committee as well as the project report prepared by the Ujjain
Smart City Ltd., we issue the following directions:
(i) That the Expert Committee shall visit the temple and submit a
report by 15th December 2020, as to the steps to be taken to prevent
deterioration of Shivlinga and the steps to be taken to preserve the
temple structure, including Chandranageshwar Temple.
(ii) We also direct the Committee to do a yearly survey and submit a
report to this Court.
(iii) To preserve the Shivalingam, we direct that :
(a) any devotee should do no rubbing of the Shivalingam.
(b) The Temple Committee to ensure that the pH value of Bhasma
during the Bhasma Aarti is improved and Shivalingam is preserved
from further deterioration and to implement the best methodology to
prevent further damage to the Lingam.
(c) The Temple Committee ensures that weight of Mund Mala and
Serpakarnahas is further reduced to preserve the Shivalingam from
mechanical abrasion. The Temple Committee to find out a way and
consider whether it is necessary to use the Metal Mund Mala on the
Shivalingam, or there can be a way out to use Mund Mala and
Serpakarnahas without touching the Shivalingam. Possibility of
further reducing weight may also be found out to prevent
(d) The rubbing of curd, ghee, honey on the Shivalingam by the
devotees is also a cause of erosion. It would be appropriate that only
pouring of a limited quantity of pure milk is allowed by the
Committee. Whereas in the traditional puja to be done on behalf of
the temple, all pure materials can be used.
(e) Poojaries, Janeupati, Khutpati, Purohits, and their authorized
representatives to strictly ensure that no visitor or devotee rub the
Shivalingam at any cost. If it is done by any devotee, accompanying
Poojari or Purohit shall be responsible for not stopping the rubbing.
No rubbing of Shivalingam to be done by anyone except during
traditional Puja and Archana performed on behalf of the temple.
(f) The entire proceedings of Puja and Archana in Garbh Griha to
be video recorded 24 hours and be preserved at least for six months.
If any violation is found by any Poojari, Purohit, let the Temple
Committee take suitable action against that Poojari or Purohit, as
(g) As agreed to on behalf of the Temple Committee, no
Panchamrita to be poured on Shivalingam by any devotee. It may be
used only during traditional Puja and Archana of the Shivlingam.
(h) The Temple Committee shall provide pure milk from its
resources to the visitors and devotees for offering and make
arrangements for that. The Committee should ensure that no
impure or adulterated milk is offered to Shivalingam and concerned
Poojari/ Purohit to ensure compliance.
(iv) The Temple Committee shall provide water from Koti Thirth Kund
filtered and purified and further maintain the required pH value.
(v) Let the CBRI, Roorkee visit the temple, if necessary, and submit a
project report as per its proposal dated 17.09.2019. CBRI, Roorkee, is
directed to submit a project report regarding structural stability within
six months. A sum of Rs. 41.30 Lakhs, as required by it, shall be paid
by the Central Government as early as possible.
(vi) Ujjain Smart City Ltd., as per its letter dated 27.08.2020, is
directed to undertake Mahakaal Rudrasagar Integrated Development
Approach (Phase I and Phase II) forthwith and submit to this Court
detailed project report and the time frame within six weeks.
(vii) Let the details of necessary repairs, maintenance, and improvement
be worked out and carried out forthwith. Let the Collector prepare a
comprehensive plan for this purpose with the help of the Superintendent
Engineer and available Architect. The State Government shall sanction
fund immediately. Let a suitable plan and estimate be prepared within
four weeks, and necessary repair and maintenance work be carried out
(viii) The Expert Committee ordered the removal of modern additions, as
noted at Item No. 20. They shall be removed, and the Temple Committee
shall file a compliance report to this Court by 15th December, 2020.
(ix) The original work in the temple is required to be restored. As
assured by the Committee, let restoration work be done concerning
eyesore painting by 15th December, 2020. The Temple Committee is
directed to ensure in future not to permit or resort to such painting and
covering of the original work, objected by the Expert Committee. Let a
report be submitted to this Court in this regard by 15th December, 2020.
(x) We direct the Collector and Superintendent of Police of Ujjain to
ensure that encroachment within 500 mtrs. of the area of the temple
premises are removed, as suggested by the Experts Committee. Let
needful be done by 15th December, 2020, and a report be submitted to
(xi) Concerning the preservation and maintenance of Chandranageshwar
Temple, a comprehensive plan be prepared and implemented, and be
submitted to this Court for information.
(xii) If any area is slippery in Garbh Griha, the Temple Committee to
ensure that the needful is done.
(xiii) Let the necessary religious rituals be performed regularly along
with other aspects as discussed in Para 5 of the order.
Let the case be listed for further monitoring and consideration of
the Compliance Report in the second week of January 2021.
September 01, 2020.