The Bombay High Court on Monday asked if there was any provision that does not permit extra charges for the entry of “VIPs” (very important persons) at the famous Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik. The court was referring to the temple’s practice of enabling a “VIP” or “special darshan” at an extra cost.
A Division Bench of Justices S.V. Gangapurwala and S.G. Dige was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Lalita Shinde, a social worker, challenging an entry fee of ₹200 for “VIPs” by the temple trust.
The advocate appearing for Ms. Shinde said the entry fee charged for VIPs makes a distinction between people and the temple is a protected monument managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and therefore, the trust cannot levy such charges.
“If a person asks for some preference, then extra can be charged. Arrangement is made for those persons. You show a provision which says it is not allowed. You [the petitioner] can do social work in a better manner. We will grant you some time. We are not convinced with your arguments,” the Bench said.
The matter has been adjourned to November 30.
The PIL states: “The new trust committee decided to levy a charge of ₹200 for VIP entry. Several complaints were sent to the Archaeological Survey of India which in 2015 held that the same was illegal and asked the collector to issue necessary directions. However, till date no action is taken.”