The Gujarat High Court has sought an explanation from the State Government about its Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board promoting the places of worship of only one religion.

Admitting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the matter, a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi asked the Government as to why the Board had been funding only Hindu temples and not paying any amount to institutions of any other religion.

The PIL was filed last week by an Ahmedabad resident Mujahid Nafees who said that the Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board has so far allocated funds to 358 Hindu temples and pilgrimage sites across the state but not for a single institution of any other faith.

Allocating funds for only one religion is a clear violation of secular spirit of the Constitution, advocate K R Koshti argued before the High Court.

The Government is not expected to spend public money only on one religion, the PIL said.

The Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board was set up in 1995 soon after the BJP came to power in the state for the first time. The Hindu pilgrimage centres like Somnath, Dwaraka, Girnar, Ambaji, Dakor and the Jain temple complex at Palitana in Bhavnagar district were soon declared as ‘Pavitra Yatradhams’, thus entitling them for government funds.

Subsequently, this list went up to 358 Hindu temples which received the State Government funds but not a single shrine of any other faith was included, the PIL told the High Court.

The State Government has been asked to respond by 12 December when the next hearing of the PIL would be taken up.