Tirupati: In a significant development, Mahant of the Hathiramji Mutt, Arjun Dass, who had earlier been suspended, took charge of the Mutt on 14 February, according to the High Court’s judgment pronounced on 10 February. Justice A.V Sesha Sai granted an interim order directing the commissioner of the endowments department and other respondents in the writ petition to suspend proceedings against the Mahant.
It may be recalled that the commissioner of endowments had suspended the Mahanth on 29 January over allegations related to some land dealings of the Mutt. The executive officer of Srikalahasthi temple, C. Chandrasekhar Reddy, had taken charge.

Dharmika Parishad constituted under Section 152 of the AP Endowments Act, 1987, alone can initiate action against Mahanth and since there is no Dharmika Parishad in the state as such the order passed by the commissioner of endowments suffers from lack of jurisdiction, the court opined.

The suspension is contrary to the interim orders of 7 September, 2006, and also of 3 April, 2018. The order is for a period of three weeks and it directs the registry to list the said writ petition next week with a direction that the Mahanth should function strictly in accordance with directions of the Division Bench.

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