The Apex Court has ordered that the deity as a legal person possesses all temple property, and the name of the pujari or even the government officials in charge of running the temple should not be put in the property ownership papers in the revenue records. In the ownership section, the deity's name is only needed to be put up as the deity, being a juristic individual is the owner of the land.
The SC bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and AS Bopanna held that there is "no directive under the law" that the name of pujari or manager is needed to be put in the revenue data since the deity as the juristic person is the holder of the land.
The judgment was passed during the hearing of a Special Leave Petition filed by Madhya Pradesh, challenging an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which struck down two circulars provided by the state government as per MP Law Revenue Code, 1959 (Code). These circulars were executive orders issued to cut out the names of pujaris from the revenue records to safeguard the temple properties from uncertified sales by pujaris.
The Supreme Court has further ruled that even where the district collector or any other official has been designated as the manager of the temple, their name can also not be recorded in the revenue records.
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