Srinagar, Jul 11 (PTI) The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has directed the Anantnag deputy commissioner to immediately take over the management of two temples and their properties to preserve and protect them.

Hearing a petition on the management of the Shri Raghu Nath Mandir and the Nagbal Gautam Nag temple in the south Kashmir district, a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice M A Chowdhary ruled that the properties vest in the deity and are therefore required to be managed effectively and peacefully.

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"In this petition, there appears to be a claim and a counter-claim by the petitioner and the newly impleaded respondent with respect to the management of Shri Raghu Nath Mandir and Nagbal Gautam Nag temple, Anantnag," it said.

"The petitioner claims that he, having been appointed as manager by Mahant Madhav Dasji, has been managing the affairs of both the temples since the 21st of June, 2010. It is claimed that the newly impleaded respondent, who is a stranger to the temples' properties, is only a busy body having no interest or stake in the management of the properties and the temples," the court said.

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Having heard the counsel for the parties and perused the material on record, the court was of the opinion that the two shrines, along with the properties attached, are neither vested in the petitioner nor the newly impleaded respondent, it said.

"Keeping in view the rival claims made by the two sides, it would be appropriate that both the aforesaid temples and the properties attached thereto are put under the management of the deputy commissioner (district magistrate), Anantnag, leaving the petitioner as well as the newly impleaded respondent free to agitate their rights before the civil court," the court ruled.

The district magistrate shall also ensure that the properties belonging to these temples are restored to the temples after following due process of law. The district magistrate may constitute a committee to manage the affairs of both the temples and their properties effectively, it said.

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