The Allahabad High Court today directed that the Shankaracharya of Jyotishpeeth Badrikashram in Badrinath be selected within three months and that the post should be considered vacant till then.
The Allahabad High Court today directed that the Shankaracharya of Jyotishpeeth Badrikashram in Badrinath be selected within three months and that the post should be considered vacant till then. The court rejected the claim of both Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati and Swami Swaroopananda to the position, saying their anointments were illegal and invalid.
A bench of justices Sudhir Agrawal and K J Thaker said Vasudevanand was not an ascetic at the time of his anointment and therefore was not eligible for the position of the mutt seer. It also said that the position was not vacant at the time of Swaroopanand’s anointment, so his elevation too was illegal.
The court maintained that only four ‘peeths’ — Puri, Dwarka, Shringeri, and Badrinath — were established by the Adi Sankaracharya and the procedure adopted in 1941 would be followed in the selection of the new seer.
It upheld the lower court’s direction barring Vasudevanand from using the insignia which the pontiffs of the four shrines are entitled to carry. The court also directed that status quo be maintained with respect to the affairs of the office till the Shankaracharya is chosen.
It directed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidvat Parishad to take the help of priests, scholars and the Shankaracharyas of the three other shrines in making the selection within three months.
The lower court in 2015 had declared as illegal Vasudevanand’s claim to the title of the Shankaracharya of Jyotishpeeth Badrikashram following a petition by Swaroopananda.
The petition was filed by Swaroopananda way back in 1989 when Vasudevanand laid claim to the title of Shankaracharya, producing a will by a previous pontiff which the lower court, delivering a judgement running into over 300 pages, found to be “fake”.
Swaroopananda, who is the Shankaracharya of the shrine at Dwarka, had been holding the additional charge of the pontiff for Badrinath since 1973, as the last Shankaracharya of the Badrinath Dham shrine had not nominated anyone to the post.