Mathura, Mar 22 (PTI) A local court has passed a few pilgrim welfare oriented orders, including ban on the presence of more than three priests in front of sanctum sanctorum of Banke Behari temple here.

“In order to facilitate pilgrims to pay their obeisance to the principal deity of Bankey Behari temple, without any hindrance, now presence of more than three priests in Katghara (area in front of sanctum sanctorum, also called Jagmohan Verandah), has been made punitive,” an order passed by Indrajeet Singh, Civil Judge (Junior) Mathura said.

Considering the hardship faced by the pilgrims, Singh, who is also the legal administrator of the temple, has passed a few pilgrim welfare oriented orders.

Presence of four, five or even six priests in the area, sometimes deprive a pilgrim to pay obeisance.

The doors of sanctum sanctorum are opened for a limited time and in such case if a devotee reaches at the last moment to catch a glimpse of the diety, his vision is obstructed by a number of priest surrounding the idols.

Running of a parallel office, by Sevayat (priests) in Chauk (open enclosure in front of Jagmohan) or at Chabutara (raised platform) by placing table/chair /bench around the outer periphery of the temple has also been banned.

Violating priests would invite punitive action, Singh stated.

He has also passed an order on bogus priests, who had been cheating the pilgrims.

“Sqeezing  money in lieu of smearing of sandalwood paste on forehead of pilgrims in side as well as raised platform outside temple, has also been made an offence,” Singh said.

The action has been necessitated since certain acts of bogus priests have been tarnishing the image of the temple, he added. PTI COR ARK