Thursday, 9 July 2015

Supreme court;Writs will not lie against the Judiciary acting on its judicial side



If the submission of Mr. Shanti Bhushan is accepted that by simply
hearing a writ petition the Court becomes a party with same duties and
responsibilities as the State, then the rights which can be claimed only
against the State can also be claimed against all private parties because
judiciary has to hear and decide almost all cases. Such plea is required to
be noticed only for rejection otherwise all disputes against private persons
will have to be treated as a dispute against the State also, because it is
primary responsibility of the judiciary to hear and adjudicate all disputes.
The judicial forum will then loose its impartiality because petitioners, like in
the present case, will make a demand that court itself should act as the
State and deliver all reliefs in a dispute where the executive or the
legislature is not at all involved as a party. For the aforesaid reasons we find
no merit in the contention that while acting in judicial capacity the judiciary
acts as the State and hence it must, as a corollary, entertain a writ petition
against purely private parties only because the matter has been brought
before the court.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE/ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.3276-3278 OF 2013
Riju Prasad Sarma etc. etc.
.....Appellants
Versus
State of Assam & Ors.
.....Respondents
WITH
W.P.(C)Nos.72; 91 and 140 of 2012
AND
S.L.P.(C)Nos.18070-18072 of 2015 [CC 8089-8091/2012]
JUDGMENT
SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.
Dated;July 07, 2015.


The Civil Appeals arise out of three writ petitions, two of the year 2000
and one of the year 2002 which were heard together and disposed of by a
learned Single Judge of Guwahati High Court by a common judgment and
order dated 06.08.2004. That judgment was challenged before the Division
Bench through two writ appeals bearing W.A.Nos.311 and 312 of 2004
preferred by the appellants who confined the scope of the appeals only to
the width and scope of Section 25A of the Assam State Acquisition of Lands
Belonging to Religious or Charitable Institutions of Public Nature Act, 1959
(for brevity referred to as ‘the Act’).
Admittedly neither the State
Government nor the private respondents preferred any cross appeal.
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2
However, there was a fresh writ petition filed directly before the Division
Bench bearing Writ Petition No.923/2005 preferred in the name of The
Deity, Sri Sri Ma Kamakhya claimed to be represented by appellant – Riju
Prasad Sarma who further described himself as the Administrator,
Kamakhya Debutter.
The said writ petition sought to challenge the
constitutional validity of Section 25A of the Act. The writ appeals and the
Writ Petition No.923 of 2005 were finally disposed of by a common
judgment and order of the Division Bench of Guwahati High Court dated
25.10.2011 which is under challenge in the principal matter – Civil Appeal
Nos.3276-3278 of 2013 filed by Sri Riju Prasad Sarma & Ors. claiming to
represent The Kamakhya Debutter Board.
2.
Along with the Civil Appeals three writ petitions bearing No.72, 91 and
140 of 2012 have also been heard together as connected matters because
they either throw a challenge to the validity of the Section 25A of the Act or
the Rules framed thereunder or to the actual election of Dolois held on
16.11.2011 on account of this Court not staying the direction of the
Division Bench to hold such election governed by custom.
The same
dispute covered by the Civil Appeals noticed above is sought to be raised
again through S.L.P.(C) Nos.18070-18072 of 2015 [CC 8089-8091/2012]
which have been filed along with an application for permission to prefer the
special leave petitions by those who were not parties earlier, Hiten Sarma
and some others, against the same very common judgment of the Division
Bench dated 25.10.2011.
This judgment shall govern all the matters
noticed above. For the sake of convenience the facts have been noted from
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the records of civil appeals except where indicated otherwise.
3.
It is necessary to have a look at the nature of the three writ petitions
decided by the learned single judge.
But before that it will be useful to
notice the background facts which led to those writ petitions.
The
appellants have, in one of their written submissions, furnished the
introduction, it reads as follows:-
“INTRODUCTION
The present group of matters concerns the Sri Sri Maa
Kamakhya Devalaya, which is one of the most significant
amongst the 51 Shaktipeethas. The temple and the site are
referred to in the Sanskrit text “Kalikapurana” which is one of
the eighteen upapurana. The Diety of Shri Shri Kamakhya is
one of the most venerated Goddesses. The main Kamakhya
temple and the subsidiary temples in and around the three
Hills of Nilachal are collectively known under the general
name of “Kamakhya”.
It may be mentioned that the
subsidiary temples are also known in Assames as “Nanan
Devalayas”. The families of the priests of the main temple call
themselves “Bordeuris”. The families of the priests of the
subsidiary temples are known as “Deuris”. The head priest is
called the “Doloi”. “Shebait” means and includes all the
community of persons who are directly connected to the
performance of any kind of duty associated with the temple
complex and thus, includes the Bordeuris, Deuris and other
Brahamin and non Brahmin persons directly connected to the
performance of any kind of duty associated with the temple
complex.
There are before this Hon’ble Court four proceedings
raising different aspects of the matter.
1. The principal matter is C.A. No.3276-3278/2013 filed by
Shri Riju Prasad Sarma & Ors. (representing the Kamakhya
Debuttar Board) challenging the final judgment and order of
25.10.2011 passed by the Division Bench of the Hon’ble
Guhati High Court. In the said matter, the Learned Single
Judge had upheld the locus standi of the appellants on the
ground that it does not lie in the mouth of the State
Respondents/Private Respondents to challenge the authority
of the Kamakhya Debuttar Board to manage the affairs of the
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temple as they have not made any attempt to de-recognize or
question its authority in any court of law. (pg.216). The
learned Single Judge had also upheld the vires of Section 25A
of the Assam State Acquisition of Lands belonging to
Religious or Charitable Institutions of Public Nature
(Amendment) Act, 1987 (pg.218-225).
The appellants
preferred a limited Writ Appeal confined to the scope of
Section 25A of the said Act. There was no cross appeal
preferred by the State Government or the Private
Respondents. The Division Bench of the Hon’ble Guwahati
High Court vide impugned judgment has held that Section
25A of the said Act has very limited scope confined to the
language used in the said provision and has held as follows:
“117.....Section 25A, as would be apparent on its face, only
engrafts the enjoinment of the legislature for the constitution
of a Managing Committee to exercise control over the matter
of utilization of annuity and verification of the proper
maintenance of the institution.....”
It may be mentioned that all the parties have stated on
Affidavit before this Hon’ble Court that the said interpretation
rendered by the Division Bench of the Hon’ble Guwahati High
Court is correct. Thus, interpretation of Section 25A of the
Act is not in issue any more.
However, the Division Bench of the Hon’ble Guwahati High
Court has erroneously reversed the finding of the Learned
Single Judge on the issue of the locus standi of the appellants
and has further held without any basis whatsoever that the
Kamakhya Debutter Regulations/Kamakhya Debutter Board
has no sanctity in law (pg.34-36). This was not an issue
before them as it was not even the subject matter of the writ
appeal. In fact, there was no cross appeal against the finding
of the Ld. Single Judge on the issue of locus standi in favour
of the appellants.
Moreover, the Division Bench of the
Hon’ble Guwahati High Court has gone into and examined
the issue of election of Doloi (Head Priest) which was not the
subject matter of the writ proceedings and thereafter,
rendered an erroneous finding solely on the basis of the
purported customary practices that the electorate for the said
election to the post of Doloi should be confined only to the
male members of the four Bordeurie families (pag.89-90).
In terms of the order dated 13.5.2002 passed by the
Hon’ble High Court and the orders dated 11.11.2011 and
21.11.2011 passed by this Hon’ble Court, the administration
of the temple has been carried on by the appellants, the
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Kamakhya Debuttar Board. Further, the two Dolois has been
given exclusive monopoly in religious affairs by this Hon’ble
Court vide its order dated 21.11.2011. Thus as stated above,
Section 25A of the said Act is confined to “control over the
matter of utilization of annuity and verification of proper
maintenance of the institution.”
The interpretation of
Section 25 of the Act is not in issue here. The State
Government has paid only Rs.80,500/- and further deposited
Rs.50,000/- with the Hon’ble High Court till date for
acquisition of the land belonging to the temple. The issue
regarding the administration of non-ritual activities other
than those covered by Section 25A of the said Act was never
and is not the subject matter of these proceedings.
It may be mentioned that when the matter was heard at
some length on an earlier occasion, this Hon’ble Court had
observed that parties may consider initiating proceedings
under Section 92 C.P.C. Pursuant thereto, the appellants
have filed a Title Suit being T.S. No.2 of 2013 before the Ld.
District Judge, Kamrup (Metro) under Section 92(g) C.P.C.
with an application seeking leave of the Court as required
under the said provision. The District Judge, Kamrup has
issued notice on the said application on 7.1.2013 and the
matter is now kept on 8th August, 2014.
2. Writ Petition (C) No.72 of 2012 filed by Shri Shailen Sarma
challenging the validity of Assam State Acquisition of Lands
belonging to Religious or Charitable Institutions of Public
Nature (Election of Managing Committee of Sri Sri Maa
Kamakhya Temple) Rules framed under Section 25A of the
said Act. Though the electoral college under Section 25A of
the Act for the post of ex-officio Secretary to the managing
committee to be constituted under the said provision of the
Act includes “deuris/Bordeuris, the said Rules have illegally
excluded the Deuris (both male and female) and the female
bordeuris of their voting rights as well as the right to contest.
It may be mentioned that this Hon’ble Court in its order dated
21.11.2011 had stated that the State Government shall take
steps to frame rules and any objection to the rules should be
challenged only before this Court.
3.
Writ Petition (C) No. 140 of 2012 filed by Shri Shailen
Sharma and others challenging the actual election of Dolois
held on 16.11.2011 on the ground that confining the electoral
college and right to vote to only the male Bordeuris to the
exclusion of Deuris (both male and female) and the female
Bordeuris is illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional in law.
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6
4. Writ Petition No. 91 of 2012 filed by Nanan Bordeuris
regarding the validity of Section 25A of the said Act and the
rights of the shebaits.”
4.
From the above introduction furnished by the appellants, it is
evident that according to the appellants the Division Bench erred in
deciding the issue relating to administration of non-religious activities of
Maa Kamakhya Temple (other than those which relate to scope and
interpretation of Section 25A of the Act). To same effect was the first and
main submission advanced by learned senior counsel Sri Ashok H. Desai,
appearing for the appellants. According to Mr. Desai, the issue relating to
customary right of Bordeuris represented by the two Dolois who are elected
by adult male Bordeuris belonging at present to four specified priest
families vis-à-vis the rights and the status of the Debutter Board was never
and is still not the subject matter of the present proceedings and hence the
judgment of the Division Bench deciding the above said issue in favour of
the Bordeuries and the Dolois must be set aside.
Further stand of the
appellants is that even if the issue did arise before the Division Bench, the
same has been wrongly decided by ignoring break in the old custom since
1970/1973 and thereafter through creation of Debutter Board in 1998. The
stand of the appellants is that essential religious rites of Maa Kamakhya
Temple is still left in the hands of the Dolois as per custom and the
Debutter Board is governing and entitled to govern only the secular/non
religious activities of the temple and its properties because for that it is
empowered by the Debutter Board Regulation of 1998.
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5.
On behalf of the appellants, as an alternative it was highlighted in
the oral as well as in the written submissions that no observations be made
by this Court which may have any impact in the pending proceeding
initiated by the appellants under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure
pending before the learned District Judge, Kamrup, Guwahati.
6.
On the other hand, it is the categorical stand of private
respondents except the State of Assam that there is no dispute between the
parties with respect to amplitude of Section 25A of the Act. All except State
of Assam are in agreement that it has to be given a narrow meaning in the
context of the Act and the various provisions contained therein which
restrict the functions of the Statutory Managing Committee conceptualized
thereunder to exercise control only over the matter of utilization of annuity
and verification of the proper maintenance of the institution.
According to
respondents, the Debutter Board represented by the appellants has used
writ petitions filed before the learned single judge for the clandestine and
concealed object of grabbing control over the properties and affairs of the
Maa Kamakhya temple ater its attempt to get recognition from the District
Judge failed. According to respondents only the two Dolois whose term has
expired and who did not want holding of elections to elect Dolois for a
further term of five years, went in collusion with the Deuries/priests of
other subsidiary temples known as Nanan Devalayas to support the
formation of a body which describes itself as Debutter Board and its self
serving constitution as Debutter Board Regulation 1998,
which has no
legal sanctity.
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7.
Dr. Rajeev Dhavan, learned senior counsel for the private
respondents took great pains to take us through the pleadings and prayers
in the three writ petitions decided by the learned single judge to show that
in writ petition Nos. 6184 and 5385 of 2000, while challenging the Deputy
Commissioner’s Committee, the Debutter Board cleverly raised the issue of
its status in several paragraphs. In addition, in writ petition No.2955 of
2002 Mr. Riju Prasad Sarma as petitioner went on to describe himself as
the administrator of Maa Kamakhya Debutter with a further claim that as
an administrator he is responsible and authorized to represent the
grievances of Brahamins and non-Brahamins Shebaits as well as devotees
of the Maa Kamakhya Debutter. In Paragraph 34 the appellant Riju Prasad
Sarma made a specific prayer that the annuity which is payable under the
Act be paid to the Maa Kamakhya Debutter Board.
8.
The contents of the writ appeal No. 311 of 2004 were similarly
highlighted to show that at various places the Debutter Board had claimed
a status for itself even in the writ appeals.
The writ petition No. 923 of
2005 filed by appellant Riju Prasad Sarma was heard originally by the
Division Bench along with writ appeals.
In this writ petition the petitioner
claimed to represent the Deity. In their counter affidavits the State
Authorities as well as the private respondents strongly disputed such claim.
According to learned senior counsel Mr. Dhavan, the issue was though
loosely referred to and argued as an issue of locus but it was actually an
issue relating to status and/or rights of the appellants and the Debutter
Board; whether the Board had any established right to claim a share in the
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management of even secular affairs of Maa Kamakhya temple. According to
learned senior counsel, the Debutter Regulation of 1998 is a self serving
document which does not have any sanctity of law and did not create any
right in the Debutter Board to take over the religious endowment of Maa
Kamakhya and represent the deity.
9.
On behalf of the appellants, a number of judgments have been cited
in course of reply to the aforesaid stand of the respondents in respect of
locus/status. No doubt, the concept of locus was seriously diluted in the
majority of cited cases which were noticeably in the nature of Public Interest
Litigation.
But the writ petitions filed before the learned single judge or
even before the Division Bench claimed rights in the petitioners as
administrator or as lawful representative of religious endowment or the
deity and were not in the nature of PIL.
In any case, in view of strong and
categorical denial made by the respondents to the right of the Debutter
Board to represent the deity of Maa Kamakhya in writ petition No. 923 of
2005, the Division Bench could not have ignored the issue of rights and
status. Hence, in our considered view it was necessary for the Division
Bench on being called upon through pleadings, to decide the locus or status
of the appellants representing the Debutter Board. In its wholesome writ
jurisdiction, the Division Bench could not have shut its eyes and ears to
such a serious dispute arising in the context of a public religious
endowment relating to Maa Kamakhya temple in the Nilachal hills of Assam
at Guwahati, which is highly revered by the Hindus residing anywhere since
several centuries.
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10.
In view of above, the foremost contention of appellants advanced by
learned senior counsel Mr. Desai that the Division Bench erred in deciding
the locus or status of the Debutter Board represented by the appellants
cannot be accepted. This brings us to the next contention, which is more
intricate and challenging; whether the findings of the Division Bench
upholding the control of Bordeuries and their representatives, the Dolois
over the religious and secular affairs of Maa Kamakhya temple and
endowment as per customs is correct or not.
11.
Before adverting to the above issue, it will be useful to notice some
past disputes, their adjudication by courts as also the recent events,
disputes and consequent three writ petitions decided by the learned single
Judge.
12.
A title suit bearing no.45 of 1919 under Section 92 of the Civil
Procedure Code was filed against the then two Dolois, seeking a fresh
scheme for management of endowment known collectively as Kamakhya
Endowment inclusive of Maa Kamakhya Temple or Devalaya. The suit was
finally decided in favour of the Dolois by judgment dated 25.2.1931. Both
the parties have referred to the said judgment in detail not only to
demonstrate the custom which empowered the four Bordeori families to
elect Dolois which is the main issue decided by the judgment but also to
highlight the claim of the Bordeoris and the Dolois that they being the sole
trustees of the endowment were alone competent to elect the Dolois to
supervise the affairs of the temple. The judgment reveals that the bordeoris
who earlier belonged to five principal families of priests attached to the
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main temple at Kamakhya, now reduced to four families, were found to be
not only the de facto but also de jure trustees of the entire concern in the
Kamakhya Scheme of Endowment and the Dolois were really their agents or
managers. The object of that suit was held to be an attempt to supersede
the Bordeoris from their exclusive management and control and substitute
them with a body consisting of all subordinate Shebaits belonging to
Brahmins of Nanan Devalayas as well as non Brahmins.
The word
‘Bordeori’ or ‘Panda’ in relation to five families of Bordeoris was found used
in old copper plate dated 1686 Saka era which was in force in Assam at that
time and also in a parwana issued by the Commissioner of Assam to the
Managing Bordeori in 1827 A.D. which used the expression ‘five pandas of
Kamakhya Dham’. Decrees in old suits of the year 1838 and 1855 were
also noted by the Civil Court along with several old agreements between
Bordeoris and Dolois to come to a conclusion that five distinctive families of
priests known by the names of Brahma, Bura, Deka, Hota and Bidhipathak
originally constituted the five families of Bordeoris out of which Brahmas
later became extinct. The judgment also indicates that descendents of the
five principal and leading families of priests who were originally appointed
for the Kamakhya temple were also sometimes called collectively as
five
Pandas and sometimes as five Deoris.
13.
It is interesting to note that in the 1931 judgment the Civil Court
looked into an old decree of the Sadar Diwani Adalat of Calcutta dated 1838
made in appellate jurisdiction in connection with a dispute over the
Doloiship at Kamakhya.
The Sadar Diwani Adalat judgment contained
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several references to the five ancient families of priests and made it clear
that save and except those five houses, the work of the Doloiship and
Sebayati could not be conferred on anyone else; that none of the other
Brahmins at Kamakhya or elsewhere had any right, power or authority of
even touching or handling the Goddess at Nilachal Kamakhya Temple
proper for conducting the Sevapuja (Rajaki puja) at the temple. Such rights
and privileges were held to be hereditary ancestral rights of the Bordeori
families and hence the Dolois elected by them were restored to possession
and management of Kamakhya by replacing another person who was put in
as Doloi by an independent agency during the chaos and disorder of the
Burmese occupation. The Judicial Commissioner’s findings in 1873 have
been summarised in the said judgment as follows :
“(1) That the office of the Doloi is not a hereditary office, but
elective and the right of election is in the hands of the Bordeoris;
(2)
That as the Government will no longer take
any steps, as of old, to guard the Temple funds from
misappropriation by the Dalois, the power to guard them must
be held to have developed upon the Elective Body;
(3)
That the power of guarding is clearly a power
some one must exercise, as it would be in the highest degree
wrong to have left the uncontrolled management to the Dolois.
(4)
That the Bordeoris as a class fall within the
description of ‘Zaminders and other recipients of the rent of
lands’, according to the spirit of the law and that they do fall
within that description;
(5)
That the Bordeoris, as a class, have a right
to watch over the administration of the temple lands, and
protect such funds from waste, and that the Dolois are, so to
speak, their (the Bordoris’) agents in that matter.”
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14.
Another judgment in the case of Baroda Kanta v. Bangshi Nath
reported in AIR 1940 Cal. 269 is a judgment of Calcutta High Court dated
30.11.1939 which again clearly recognized the custom of exclusive control
of Dolois elected by Bordeori families to be incharge of religious as well as
secular affairs of Kamakhya temple and endowment.
It is also not in
dispute that in the Act of 1959 which came into force on 11.1.1963 and in
the Rules of 1963 framed thereunder, there are provisions requiring the
identification of the Head of a religious or charitable institution as defined
in Section 2(d) in whom the control and management of the properties of
that institution is vested. The notification of acquisition under Section 3(2)
has to be served on such Head in the manner prescribed.
The
consequences of such notification take place as per Sections 4 to 6 leading
to the payment of compensation which is determined under Section 8 and
as per sub-section (5) thereof the net income as per calculations is required
to be paid in cash annually as perpetual annuity as compensation to the
Head of the institution for lands acquired under the Act. The proviso to
sub-section (5) of Section 8 takes care of entitlement of any person to a
share of the income of any such institution or to a lump sum allowance
under the terms of any grant or endowment relating to that institution
which is required to be determined in the prescribed manner.
Besides
containing provisions for appeal, as per Section 18 the Head of religious or
charitable institution is obliged to submit to the Deputy Commissioner a
return giving the particulars of all his lands including the lands selected for
retention under Section 5, etc.
Admittedly, the Dolois as agents of
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Bordeoris are recognized as the Head of the public religious endowment of
Kamakhya including the Maa Kamakhya Temple.
15.
The Act was amended by Assam Act No.XIX of 1987 which received
the assent of the Governor on 19.10.1987. Inter alia, this Amendment Act
introduced a new Section 25A which reads as follows :
“25A. Constitution of the Managing Committee.-For each of
the Religious or Charitable Institution of Public Nature, a
Managing Committee shall be constituted with the following
members to have a control over the matter of utilization of the
annuity and verification of the proper maintenance of the
Institution.
(a) The Deputy Commissioner or Sub-divisional Officer or his
nominee – President.
(b) An Ex-Officio Secretary to be elected by the Deuries/ Bor
Deuries.
(c) 5 (five) elected members – to be elected from amongst the
devotees.
The term of the Committee shall be for three years from the
date of its constitution.”
The Statement of Objects & Reasons of the Amending Act are noted in
paragraph 111 of the impugned judgment under appeal as follows :
“111. The statement of objects and reasons of the Amending Act
discloses the following impelling factors therefor:-
i) certain religious or charitable institutions of public nature
whose lands had been acquired did neither take proper steps for
finalization of compensation nor did they file appeal within the
stipulated time;
ii) it was felt necessary to enhance the annuity payable to the
institution due to rise of market price of essential commodities
for its maintenance and upkeep;
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iii) it was felt imperative to have control over the annuity and to
verify and audit the accounts to the satisfaction of the concerned
authority.”
16.
The last election of Dolois by the members of Bordeori families or
bordeori samaj was made in 1991-1992 in accordance with the custom. Sri
Jnanada Prasad Sarma and Sri Paran Chandra Sarma were elected as the
Doloi and Saru Doloi respectively. The constitutional validity of Section 25A
was challenged by head of another religious institution through a Writ
Petition bearing No.3118 of 1994 before the Guwahati High Court.
17.
Pendency of that writ petition could not have posed any hindrance
to election of successor Dolois after five years, in 1996-1997. But that
did not happen. An attempt was made by the shabiats, brahamins as
well non-brahmins including priests/Deories of Nanan Devalayas to
democratize the management of Kamakhya temple by diluting the control
of Bordeori Samaj and the Dolois by framing a new scheme of
management described as the Kamakhya Debutter Regulation, 1998
providing
for
constitution
of
a
Board
for
the
superintendence,
management and administration of all the affairs of the main Kamakhya
temple and also the temples of Dasa Mahavidyalaya and all other
temples and places of religious significance in and around the three hills
of Nilachal described as temples’ complex.
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18. The Board as defined under the Regulation means the general Board
of members of Kamakhya Debutter or the Kamakhya Temple Trust Board
constituted under the Regulation. The regulation also ordained that the
Board shall be the head of the institution for the purpose of Section 2(d)
of the Act. Doloi of the Kamakhya Temple as per Regulation means the
person elected by the brahamin shabaits and not only by B ordeori Samaj.
The regulation vests women also with the right to vote but not the right
to contest for the post of Doloi because the Doloi is the head priest or
poojari. Though the Debutter regulation and the Board contemplated
therein claimed their existence from 1998 but according to the list of
dates and events given by the appellants in the course of arguments and
from the list of dates filed as a document in the course of arguments on
behalf of the State of Assam, it appears that when the two elected Dolois
did not hold the elections even after the expiry of their term of five years,
Bordeori Samaj approached the district Judge Kamrup for holding of
elections. Before the District Judge an attempt was made by other
shebiats to include themselves in the list of voters for electing the Dolois
but their claim was rejected by the District Judge by an order passed on
12.6.1998. By another order dated 21.10.1998, the District Judge
Kamrup, Guwahati in file No.D9/ K/KT/6/95 maintained in connection
with Kamakhya temple, disposed of the petition filed by Bordeori samaj of
the Kamakhya temple seeking election of the managing Committee of
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Kamakhya temple against which the then Dolois and some others had
filed objections.
19.
In that Order the District Judge has noted that there was a defacto
Managing Committee described as “the present Managing Committee”
supported by the then two dolois who took the stand that there was no
scheme of holding election nor there was any term of office of managing
committee fixed in Constitution. Such defacto Committee also challenged
the jurisdiction of the District Judge to impose any election. The District
Judge was not impressed with zerox copy of the so-called Constitution
which as per arguments was of the year 1970-1971 and after perusing
the judgment and decree rendered by the Civil Court long back, the
District Judge found that the shebaits had not been given any power of
voting in the election of Dolois and their prayer to include them in the
voters list had already been rejected on 12.6.1998 but even thereafter the
present committee had filed a Constitution wherein Shebiats had been
included as voters. The District Judge therefore, did not accept the
Constitution as a valid document. On the issue of jurisdiction of the
District Judge, the order reveals that the entire records relating to the
management of the Kamakhya temple disclosed that earlier also on many
occasions the Managing Committee of even those very persons who had
challenged the jurisdiction of the District Judge had accepted notices
and directions regarding proper management of the temple without
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raising any challenge to the exercise of such power by the District Judge.
Since the District Judge noticed that there was a Public Interest
Litigation pending before the Guwahati High Court, hence instead of
ordering for election of Dolois he directed to get a Committee formed
through the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup, Guwahati under Section
25A of the Act by dissolving the present committee or to form an ad-hoc
Committee from amongst the Bordeori Samaj till regular election is held
after disposal of Public Interest Litigation.
20.
Against such direction the then Dolois preferred writ petition
No.6221 of 1998 which was heard and disposed of by the Division
Bench of the High Court of Guwahati along with writ Petition No.3118
of 1994 relating to vires of Section 25A of the Act. By a common
judgment and order dated 2.5.2000, the Division Bench upheld the
vires of Section 25A. It also noted the stand on behalf of the then
Dolois who had preferred Writ Petition No.6221 of 1998, that there
were no instructions to challenge Section 25A and they had challenged
only the jurisdiction of the District Judge in passing the order dated
21.10.1998. The Division Bench did note that the District Judge had
passed the order not in any judicial proceeding but in accordance with
the past practice whereunder parties used to approach the Court of
District Judge for making arrangement for constituting Committee to
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19
manage the affairs of the Kamakhya temple. That Division Bench did
not go further into the issue because it concluded that it may not be
necessary to do so because the vires of Section 25A of the Act had
been upheld and that would take care of any remaining controversy
between the parties. To the same effect was the submission made on
behalf of the writ petitioners, hence Writ Petition No.6221 of 1998 was
dismissed as infructuous.
21.
In the light of above noted Division Bench judgment the Deputy
Commissioner issued an order dated 15.9.2000 in which he also took notice
of some other judgments including one by the High Court in PIL No.35 of
1997 decided on 12.1.2000 and ordered for immediate dissolution of the
then Managing Committee of Kamakhya Devalaya headed by the then two
Dolois whose tenure was noted to have expired. They were directed to hand
over charge of office to the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup, Guwahati
within three days. Further, to look after the management of the Kamakhya
Temple, an ad-hoc Managing Committee of six members along with Deputy
Commissioner as Chairman was also ordered.
It was clarified that the
ad-hoc Managing Committee will look after the management of the
Kamakhya Devalaya till regular election is held or till the constitution of
Managing Committee as per Section 25A of the Act, for which a period of
one month only was indicated.
The appellants challenged that order by
filing a writ petition in September 2000 itself bearing W.P.(C)No.5385 of
2000 before the High Court. By an order dated 25.9.2000, a learned Single
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20
Judge issued rule and stayed the operation of order dated 15.9.2000.
However an interim arrangement was made by ordering that the Deputy
Commissioner or his nominee shall discharge the functions of the Managing
Committee to be constituted under Section 25A, till it is constituted. It was
also clarified that in respect of religious functions, status quo shall be
maintained.
Against the same very order dated 15.9.2000 another writ
petition bearing W.P.(C)No.6184 of 2000 was preferred by Sri Kamal
Chandra Sarma, a member of the Kamakhya Debutter Board and Sri Paran
Chandra Sarma, one of the then Dolois. In this writ petition also similar
interim order was made.
22. On 20.03.2002 the Deputy Commissioner passed an order whereby in
terms of the Court’s interim orders he appointed one S.K. Roy, Additional
Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup to discharge the functions of the Managing
Committee till a Committee under Section 25A could be constituted. In that
order also it was made clear that so far as the religious functions are
concerned, the status quo shall be maintained.
Through a notice dated
25.4.2002 Sri Roy communicated that he would take over the management
of the Temple as per order of the Deputy Commissioner and by another
notice dated 6.5.2002 he notified that he had taken over the responsibility
of the Managing Committee on 27.4.2002. Against the order of the Deputy
Commissioner as well as the orders and notices issued by Sri Roy, the
appellants filed another writ petition bearing W.P.(C)No.2955 of 2002. In
this third writ petition also an interim order was passed on 13.5.2002
restraining the respondents therein not to use the main Bharal, existing
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office of the Kamakhya Debutter Board and not to interfere with the
functioning of “Peethas” of the “Jal Kuber” and “Dhan Kuber” and also
religious functions of the Kamakhya Temple.
By another interim order
passed in that case on 16.10.2003, the Kamakhya Debutter Board and its
office bearers were restrained from preparing draft voters list and also from
holding or conducting any general election of the Board without prior
permission of the Court. The aforesaid three writ petitions, two of the year
2000 and third of the year 2002 were disposed of by the learned Single
Judge, as noted at the outset, by a common judgment dated 6.8.2004.
23.
The judgment of the learned Single Judge is mainly founded upon
earlier Division Bench judgment upholding the constitutionality of Section
25A of the Act. Learned Single Judge noted the arguments advanced on
behalf of the rival parties that Section 25A must be given a narrow meaning
so as to confine the Committee constituted under that provision only to
matters concerning the utilization of annuity. But in paragraph 14 of the
judgment it fell back upon judgment of the Division Bench dated 2.5.2000
for holding that since Section 25A was held to be constitutionally valid,
“there will hardly be
any room to consider the argument advanced on
behalf of the petitioners and the supporting respondents to the effect that
having regard to the object of 1959 Act, the Managing Committee
constituted under Section 25A of the Act must be ascribed a limited role
restricted to the annuity paid”.
24.
While dealing with the objection that the writ petitioners were not
competent and had no right to maintain the writ petitions, in paragraph 12
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22
of the judgment the learned Single Judge actually decided not to go deeper
into that issue and preferred to dispose of the writ petitions on merits. The
reasons indicated for adopting such a course are recorded thus :
“.......What appears to be of significance is that though in the
writ petitions filed, it has been clearly stated that the writ
petitioners
have
approached
this
Court
as
Administrators/Members of the Board of Trustees. In course of
the oral arguments, advanced, Mr. DK Bhattacharyya, learned
Senior Counsel for the Petitioners in WP© 5385/2000, has made
it clear that the approach to this Court by the Petitioners is in
their capacity as Shebaits of the Temple. Notwithstanding the
slightly contradictory stand taken, this Court has noticed that
though the Debutter Board had been constituted in the year
1998 and though the Deputy Commissioner in his affidavit has
given no credence or recognition to the said Board and the
private Respondents Nos.4 to 8 in WP© 2955/02 represented by
Shri KN Chaudhary has also disowned the Board, yet
surprisingly no attempt was made either by the Deputy
Commissioner to derecognize the Debutter Board or by the
private Respondents 4 to 8 to challenge the authority of the
Debutter Board even to claim to have a right to manage the
affairs of the Temple before any competent Court of law......”
25. Out of the two main reasons given above by the learned Single Judge
for not pursuing the issue of locus seriously, the first cannot be questioned.
Once the petitioners gave up their claim of having approached in the
capacity of administrators/members of the Board of Trustees, relief of
action in terms of Section 25A of the Act could have been granted for the
benefit of the religious institution even on the asking of petitioners in their
capacity as Shebaits of the Temple.
The other reason however does not
merit acceptance and must be treated only as an obiter or a passing
reference.
At no point of time the State or Deputy Commissioner had
recognized the Debutter Board as Head of the institution and in such a
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23
situation there was no need for even the private respondents to challenge
the authority of the Debutter Board. The issue as to who could be voter for
electing the Dolois and who could stand for that post had not arisen at that
stage because election of the Dolois had not been ordered by any court till
then.
26. It appears that at least for a brief period the District Judge, the District
Administration as well as the High Court had acted under misconception
and confusion to equate the limited supervisory role of the statutory
Committee under Section 25A of the Act with the rights of the Bordeoris
and their representative, the Dolois to manage the religious as well as
secular activities of the Kamakhya Temple, a public religious institution.
27.
The scope and amplitude of Section 25A was wrongly not touched
upon by the learned Single Judge. The earlier Division Bench Judgment
had merely affirmed the constitutionality of this provision at the instance of
another religious institution but had no occasion to weigh the powers of the
statutory Committee vis-à-vis the customary rights of Bordeori Samaj and
its elected representatives, the Dolois. The Division Bench, therefore rightly
examined the width and scope of powers of customary trustees – The
Bordeories and their elected agent, the Dolois considering all the relevant
materials and custom, it committed no error in upholding their right to take
care of management of secular as well as religious affairs of the Kamakhya
Temple.
28.
The powers of the Bordeories and Dolois has not been taken away or
adversely affected by the Act as it stood earlier or even after Section 25A
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24
was inserted. The reasons and objects of introducing the statutory
Committee under Section 25A as noted by the Division Bench in paragraph
111 of the judgment under appeal and extracted earlier in this judgment
categorically clarify that it was (i) “to have control over the annuity” and (ii)
“to verify and audit the accounts to the satisfaction of the concerned
authority.” The statutory Committee under Section 25A is therefore
concerned only with the annuity payable or paid under the Act to the Head
of the Institution and not with its ownership or management. The words –
“..... and verification of the proper maintenance of Institution.” in Section
25A have to be understood in the background of all other provisions of the
Act including the objects and reasons for the Amending Act No. XIX of
1987. In that light, the power of the Committee is indeed quite limited to
verification of the proper maintenance of accounts of the Institution
concerned and that too relating only to utilization of the annuity and other
government grants under the Act, if any. Favouring the statutory Committee
with powers to manage or oversee even only the secular aspect of
management of the Institution will not only run counter to the objects and
reasons for the Amending Act of 1987, it shall create an undesirable diarchy
when the Act does not divest the Bordeories and Dolois of their customary
powers, roles and rights. Hence we have no difficulty in accepting the
contention of most of the parties that Section 25A postulates a Committee
with limited role - only to exercise control over annuity and other grants
under the Act and its proper accounting, if and when utilized, through the
power of verification of relevant accounts for proper maintenance of
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25
Institutions.
29.
We hasten to make it clear that the above inference is in view of
peculiar features of the Act dealing mainly with acquisition of lands of
certain types of Institutions. There can be no doubt that within the
constitutional scheme guaranteeing freedom of religion, the legislature has
to exercise restraints in matters essentially religious but still it has ample
powers to legislate for better management of any religious or charitable
Institution of public nature. However, in the present case, there is no such
legislation.
30.
Submissions have been advanced on behalf of the appellants that
Kamakhya Debutter Regulation is a perfect solution for all the ills allegedly
affecting proper management of the Kamakhya Temple; its provisions do not
interfere with the customary rights of the Dolois in the religious matters
and in secular matters its provisions promote democracy to the satisfaction
of large number of concerned persons including Deuris/priests looking after
the other temples known as Nanan Devalayas.
Hence, it is pleaded that no
interference is required with the Kamakhya Debutter Regulation. From the
discussions made earlier, we find that there has been no interruption in the
essential custom whereunder the Bordeori Samaj consisting of all adult
males of Bordeori families enjoys exclusive monopoly over the power to elect
Dolois. We also find no merit in the plea of appellants that if there was a
custom in favour of Bordeori Samaj, it stood discontinued by agreement or
by framing of some sort of Constitution in 1970 and/or 1973 such plea is
vague and not backed by any acceptable evidence.
So far Dolois have
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always been elected as per the old custom, by the Bordeori Samaj.
The
custom of electing the Dolois was no doubt attempted to be changed by a
group of persons who claimed to have formulated and adopted the
Kamakhya Debutter Regulation but such Regulation does not have
acceptance of the Bordeori Samaj and the dispute on account of the
Kamakhya Debutter Regulation is now before this court by way of the
present proceedings.
31.
For the reasons assigned by the Division Bench of the High Court,
with which we are in agreement, it has to be held that Kamakhya Debutter
Regulation, 1998 is not a valid instrument and has no sanction of law for
depriving the customary rights of the Bordeori Samaj to elect the Dolois who
have been customarily exercising the right to manage the religious as well
as secular affairs of the Kamakhya Temple. Admittedly, the appellants have
now taken recourse to provisions of Section 92 of the Code of Civil
Procedure for seeking whatever relief they want against the Bordeori Samaj
and the Dolois elected by the Bordeori Samaj. In view of their categorical
submissions that this Court may not make any observation which might
affect either of the parties in Section 92 CPC proceeding, we leave the
matter at rest without commenting on the provisions of Kamakhya Debutter
Regulations. However, in the light of discussions and findings made earlier,
except to clarify, as pleaded on behalf of the appellants that Section 25A of
the Act provides for a Committee having only a narrow and limited role, we
find no merit in the Appeals and no scope to interfere with the impugned
judgment of the Division Bench. The Appeals are therefore dismissed along
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27
with SLP... cc 8089-8091/2012. This order, however, shall not prejudice
the case of the appellants and similarly placed persons in the proceeding
under Section 92 of the CPC pending before the District Judge, Kamrup,
Guwahati.
32. Having taken note of the background facts and expressed our views on
merits of the Appeals, now we shall take note of some interim orders passed
by this Court after the Division Bench judgment dated 25.10.2011 came
under challenge through Special Leave Petitions filed in 2011 itself. This is
necessary to understand the real controversy between the parties in the
three writ petitions which have been preferred directly before this Court. In
the SLP preferred by the appellants, an order was passed on 11.11.2011 to
direct that the interim arrangement made by the High Court vide order
dated 13.5.2002 shall remain operative.
As a consequence the official
respondents continued under an obligation not to use the main Bharal and
the existing office of Kamakhya Debutter Board and not to interfere with the
religious affairs of the temple.
In view of twin directions by the Division
Bench in the impugned order, to hold elections of Dolois as per custom and
to hold elections for constituting the Committee under Section 25A of the
Act, the State Authorities issued a notice for election of Doloies and that
election was held on 16.11.2011. On 21.11.2011 further interim order was
passed by this Court for framing of rules for election of members of
Managing Committee as per Section 25A of the Act and also for holding of
such elections.
It was clarified that till the Managing Committee is
constituted the administration of the temple will be as per order of the High
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28
Court dated 13.5.2002.
No interference was made with the elections of
Dolois held on 16.11.2011 and hence the elected Dolois were left with the
power to carry out all religious functions of the temple.
It was also
observed that any challenge to the validity of the Rules for constitution of
the Managing Committee under Section 25A could be raised before this
Court. On 3rd February, 2012 this Court by another interim order directed
Deputy Commissioner to take control of precious articles belonging to the
deity and prepare an inventory.
The Dolois were permitted to perform
worship but the office complex was directed to be handed over to the
Kamakhya Debutter Board and such arrangement was to remain operative
until the constitution of Managing Committee under Section 25A.
Admittedly, the said Committee has not been constituted as yet because the
rules framed for the purpose and notified on 27.1.2012 have been
challenged before this Court in Writ Petition No. 72 of 2012 as well as in
Writ Petition No.91 of 2012. The other writ petition bearing No.140 of 2012
filed by Sailen Sharma, petitioner of Writ Petition No. 72 of 2012 seeks to
challenge the election of Dolois as well as the legality of the electoral college
prepared for that election, mainly on the ground that women Bordeories
and other Deuris, both male and female, were wrongly excluded from the
same.
We shall first take up the challenge to the Rules framed under
Section 25A of the Act, i.e. Writ Petition Nos. 72 and 91 of 2012.
33.
The rules notified on 27.1.2012 are called The Assam State
Acquisition of Lands Belonging to Religious or Charitable Institution of
Public Nature (Election of managing committee of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya
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29
Temple) Rules, 2012 (hereinafter referred to as ‘The Rules of 2012’). The
notification clearly mentions that the Rules are pursuant to order of this
Court dated 21.11.2011 for carrying out the elections of ex-officio secretary
and elected members of the managing committee as contemplated by
Section 25A of the Act in respect of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya Temple. Rule 2
defines various definitions such as Devotee, Temple and Bordeories. The
term ‘Devotee’ is wide enough to include all worshippers, priests and
shebaits or persons associated with the Maa Kamakhya Temple residing
permanently in Revenue Village Kamakhya either directly or through
ancestors since last 50 years or more. But Temple has been defined to mean
only the Temple of Sri Sri Maa Kamkhya situated on the Nilachal Hill near
the city of Guwahati. Bordeories mean the devotees constituting the
traditional Bordeori Samaj of the temple. There are two electoral colleges
under Rule 3, one for the election to the post of ex-officio secretary,
restricted to the Bordeories of the temple and the other for the election of
five members of the managing committee, consisting of the ‘Devotees’.
34.
Rule 6 requires the Deputy Commissioner to treat the list of electors
already prepared by the Bordeories and published in connection with the
election of Dolois as the electoral rolls for the election of ex-officio secretary.
Claims and objections on the basis of such tentative electoral rolls are to be
entertained from the Bordeories only. It is not in dispute that the traditional
list of electors for election of Dolois includes only adult male Bordeories and
hence women members of Bordeori families did not find place in the draft
electoral rolls which were published under the Rules. It goes without saying
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30
that Deuries and priests of other Devalayas known as Nanan Devalayas are
also not included in this electoral roll because for election to the post of
ex-officio secretary only the Bordeories are qualified to be in the electoral
college and be a candidate also. Hence a strong grievance has been raised
by the Dolois of Nanan Devalayas, both male and female as well as female
members of the Bordeori families that their exclusion by virtue of Rules
notified by the State Government is unconstitutional being violative of
Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
35.
On behalf of State of Assam a categorical stand has been taken that
the Rules do not debar the female members of the Bordeori families rather
the nomination form in Schedule II of the Rules requires the candidate to
declare that their names as well as that of their father/mother/husband
has been correctly spelt out. Hence the State has no objection in allowing
claims by female members of Bordeories family if they want their names to
be included in the electoral rolls. However, on behalf of the State Mr.
Jaideep Gupta learned senior counsel took a categorical stand that Deories
cannot claim equality with Bordeories for the purpose of election of
ex-officio secretary because, according to State, in the Temple of Sri Sri Maa
Kamakhya, which does not include the Nanan Devalayas, the four Bordeori
families occupy the status of trustees whose representatives are the Dolois
elected for the purpose of looking after the secular as well as religious
affairs of the temple. He submitted that the Deories are priests only in the
Nanan Devalayas and for the main temple of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya which
alone is covered by the Rules of 2012, they can only be included in the
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31
definition of ‘Devotees’ and in that capacity they are entitled to be in the
electoral college for the purpose of electing the other five members of the
Managing Committee. Hence, according to him the State has not committed
any discrimination or perpetrated any illegality in creating two electoral
colleges, one for the single post of ex-officio secretary confined to the
Bordeori families on account of their de jure as well as de facto status since
long and another electoral college for the five other members of the
Managing Committee, consisting of the Devotees which shall include all
other Dolois, Shebaits/Worshippers etc. He made it clear that for the
purpose of statutory Managing Committee under Section 25A of the Act, the
State shall not discriminate between the male and female members of the
Bordeori families or the male and female Devotees, as the case may be.
36.
In view of discussions made earlier it is evident that the Bordeori
families enjoy a distinct status and monopoly in matters connected with the
religious as well as secular management of the temple of Sri Sri Maa
Kamakhya and hence the claim of equality on behalf of Deoris associated
with the Nanan Devalayas or even with Maa Kamakhya Temple does not
have any merit. In view of such clear and categorical legal distinction, the
State cannot be blamed for creating two electoral colleges and confining
election rolls for the post of ex-officio secretary only to the members of the
Bordeori families including females. The alleged discrimination vis-à-vis
Deoris has no foundation. Fair treatment to others interested in the temple
is assured by permitting the ‘Devotees’ to elect as many as five members of
the Managing Committee. Hence the challenge to the impugned provisions
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32
in the Rules on ground of Article 14 fails. The plea that Rules must cover
not only the temple and endowment of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya Devalaya but
the entire complex including Nanan Devalayas has no support or basis in
law.
The Act permits the State to constitute a Managing Committee for
each of the Institution covered by Section 25A of the Act. It has not been
pleaded or proved that Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya temple and endowment is not
so covered. In fact the lands acquired under the Act appear mainly of main
temple of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya.
Submissions were advanced but no
pleading or proof was placed before us to show that lands of Nanan
Devalayas have also been acquired.
Moreover, it is discretionary power
under Section 25A under which the State may choose not to have any
Managing Committee separately for the Nanan Devalayas.
37.
On behalf of writ petitioners the same very impugned provisions of the
Rules have been challenged also on the ground that they are contrary to the
mandate of Section 25A of the Act which under Clause (b) requires that an
ex-officio secretary be elected by the Deories/Bordeories. According to
petitioners, the Kamakhya Temple Complex enjoys the services of Dolois as
well as Bordeories hence the Act requires both the groups to be treated as
equal and the Rules must be declared to be against the Act inasmuch as
they run counter to the Act by giving recognition only to Bordeories at the
cost of Deories.
38. To meet the aforesaid contention, Mr. Jaideep Gupta, ;earmed senior
counsel referred to the various provisions of the Act to highlight that the
scheme was to recognize the Head of the Institution in whom the control
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and management of the properties is vested under any enactment, grant or
usages relating to the Institution or any scheme of management framed by
a court under Section 92 of the CPC. Such a Head, upon notice has to
deliver the possession of the acquired property and is entitled to receive
compensation in the form of annuity. In this background he laid stress
upon the fact that Section 25A was inserted not for constitution of a
common Managing Committee for all the religious or charitable institutions
in the State but for constitution of a Managing Committee for each of the
religious or charitable institutions of public nature.
In this context,
considering that some of the religious institutions have only Deories
whereas some like the Kamakhya Temple have their control vested totally in
Bordeories, the legislature provided for election of ex-officio secretary either
by the Deories or by Bordeories as the case may be. According to him, the
use of ‘slash’ (/) between the word Deories and the word Bordeories, in the
background of scheme and provisions of the Act connotes the option to act
as per factual situation obtaining in a particular institution. His further
submission was to the effect that factually the claim of the petitioners that
the temple of Shri Shri Maa Kamakhya requires daily worship/puja not only
by the Bordeories but also by atleast two families of Deories, the Chandi
Pathaks and the Supakars has been controverted by explaining that the
daily worship/puja is under the management of Dolois who represent the
Bordeories and it is only on some special occasions, once or twice in a year
that the Chandi Pathaks and the Supakars participate as Shebaits. Thus,
on facts it has been seriously contested that the temple of Sri Sri Maa
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34
Kamakhya requires services of Deories for daily worship/puja.
39.
After considering the rival submissions and on going through the
pleadings as well as provisions in the Act, we are in agreement that the
submission advanced on behalf of the State of Assam that Clause (b) in
Section 25A gives a choice or option for electing the ex-officio secretary
either by the Deories or Bordeories depending upon the facts of a particular
religious or charitable institution has merits and deserves to be accepted. It
is not the case of petitioners that all the institutions in the State have both
Deories and Bordeories. In that view of the matter it would be inevitable to
get the ex-officio secretary elected either by the Deories or the Bordeories,
whosoever may be managing the concerned institution.
40.
It is important to notice that the terms ‘Deories’ and ‘Bordeories’ is not
defined under the Act. Under Section 30 of the Act, the State Government
has the power to make rules for carrying out the purposes of the Act. Such
rules are required to be laid before the Assam Legislative Assembly as soon
as possible after they are made, for not less than fourteen days and are
subject to such modifications as the Legislative Assembly may make.
Clearly the task of defining or explaining the terms ‘Deories’ or ‘Bordeories’
in the context of a particular institution has been left to be done by making
of rules. The Rules of 2012 seek to provide for a Managing Committee in
terms of Section 25A only for the temple of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya. Under
statutory powers, the State Government in the context of this particular
institution has recognized only Bordeories by referring to the traditional
Bordeori Samaj of the temple. The other Devotees, Shebaits and Deories, if
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35
any, have been included in the category of ‘Devotee’ with a right to
participate in
the election of other five members of the Managing
Committee. The Rules of 2012 thus supplement the provisions of the Act
and do not run counter to the intention of the legislature which has
accepted the Rules of 2012 without exercising its power to make
modifications. Such Rules must be treated as part of the Act and in absence
of any conflict it has to be held that the Rules of 2012 only explain the real
intention of the legislature in using the sign of slash (/) between the words
Deories and the Bordeories in Clause (b) of the Section 25A. The second
ground of assailing the rules, therefore, must also fail. Accordingly Writ
Petition Nos. 72 and 91 of 2012 are dismissed for lack of any merits.
41.
As already noticed earlier the third Writ Petition bearing No. 140 of
2012 has also been filed by the same person - Shailen Sharma who is the
petitioner in Writ Petition No. 72 of 2010 - to challenge the election of Dolois
held on 16.11.2011. The only ground urged on behalf of the petitioners is
denial of equality or in other words, violation of Article 14 of Constitution of
India. According to petitioners even if the electoral college was required to
be confined by tradition only to Bordeories Samaj, the custom of depriving
women members of such families the right to vote and to stand as
candidate for the post of Dolois is obnoxious, immoral, discriminatory and
against Public policy. It is also the case of petitioners that another class of
priests known as Dolois play equally important role as the Bordeories and
hence the male and female members of Deories families have also been
subjected to hostile discrimination by the customs that are archaic and
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36
must be struck down as law contrary to the fundamental right of equality
guaranteed by the Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
42.
It is not in dispute that the impugned custom is not in existence on
account of any State action. The temple in question is admittedly an ancient
religious institution of public nature. The temple of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya
occupies a place of pride among Hindu temples, especially as a Shakti
Peeth. No doubt there are other smaller temples which have sprung up on
or around the same hill of Neelachal near the town of Guwahati in Assam
under the belief that there are secret Peethas which may be discovered/
found by the enlightened persons gradually in due course of time. From the
judgments referred in earlier litigations of old times it is evident that the
monopolistic control of Bordeories over the religious and secular spheres of
the temple has been resented and challenged by the other priests including
Deories of Nanan Devalayas but without success. It has already been
noticed that the appellants before this Court have now taken resort to a
proceeding under Section 92 of CPC which is pending before the District
Judge, Kamrup, Guwahati. The appellants and the petitioners have
evidently spared no efforts to break the power and control of the Bordeories
and the Dolois but so far without success. The aforesaid facts have been
noted in view of strong objection by Mr. Rajiv Dhawan, learned senior
advocate for the respondents that the writ petitions including No. 140 of
2012 are not bonafide petitions because they have been filed only to
support the case of the appellants and the Debuttar Board of 1998.
43.
On going through the pleadings in the said petition we find as a fact
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that writ petitioners have at places taken contradictory stand to challenge
the custom granting rights to the Bordeories and Dolois and at places they
have praised the Debuttar Board which recognizes the supremacy of the
Dolois atleast in matters relating to the religious practices in the temple.
However, it would not be proper to decide the writ petition merely on such
technical pleas when it has been heard at quite some length.
44.
The plea of the petitioners is that no doubt fundamental rights under
Articles 14 and 15 unlike rights such as against untouchability are
guaranteed only against State action and not against private customs or
practices but Judiciary is as much a part of State as the Executive and the
Legislature and hence it cannot permit perpetuation of discrimination in
violation of Article 14, particularly in view of Article 13(1) which mandates
that all pre Constitution Laws in the territory of India to the extent they are
inconsistent with the provisions of part III of Constitution shall, to the
extent of such inconsistency, be void.
45.
Part III of the Constitution contains fundamental rights and begins
with Article 12 which defines ‘the State’ for the purposes of part III. For
better appreciation of the issues involved, Articles 12 and 13 are extracted
here in below:
“12. Definition - In this part, unless the context otherwise requires,
“the State” includes the Government and Parliament of India and the
Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or
other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of
the Government of India.
13. Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental
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38
rights
(1) All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the
commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent
with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such
inconsistency, be void
(2) The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the
rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of
this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void
(3) In this article, unless the context otherwise requires,--
(a) “law” includes any Ordinance, order, bye law, rule, regulation,
notification, custom or usages having in the territory of India
the force of law;
(b) “laws in force” includes laws passed or made by Legislature or
other competent authority in the territory of India before the
commencement of this Constitution and not previously
repealed, notwithstanding that any such law or any part
thereof may not be then in operation either at all or in
particular areas.
(4) Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this
Constitution made under Article 368.”
46.
Since the controversy at hand embraces Articles 25 and 26, these also,
must be noted in extenso:
“25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and
propagation of religion
(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other
provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of
conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate
religion
(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law
or prevent the State from making any law
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other
secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;
(b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of
Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and
sections of Hindus.
26. Freedom to manage religious affairs - Subject to public order,
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39
morality and health, every religious denomination or any section
thereof shall have the right
(a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable
purposes;
(b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
(c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
(d) to administer such property in accordance with law.”
47.
It is the case of the petitioners that the custom relating to election of
the Dolois to the extent it violates Article 14, must be treated as void and
this Court should grant relief to the women members of Bordeories families
and also to the Deories by ordering for inclusion of their names in the
electoral college.
48.
On the other hand, the respondents have taken a firm stand that for
the purpose of part III of the Constitution Article 12 defines the term “the
State” to include the Government as well as Parliament of India as well as
Government and legislature of the States but conspicuously it has left out
the Judiciary and hence the Judiciary cannot be included and treated as
‘the State’ when it performs strictly judicial functions in contradistinction to
administrative powers. It is also the stand of the respondents that personal
laws and religious practices are not covered by the sweep of Article 13(1).
Lastly it was submitted on behalf of the respondents that Articles 25 and 26
guarantee freedom to practice and propagate religion of choice as well as to
establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes
with further rights to manage its own affairs in matters of religion; to own
and acquire all moveable and immoveable property and administer such
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40
property in accordance with law. Such rights being in part III of the
Constitution itself, must be respected and read in harmony with each other
and other provisions in Part III. With this stand the respondents have
supported their plea that Article 13 will have no application in respect of
personal laws based on Shastaras and Scriptures and also in respect of
essential religious practices which are matters of faith based upon religious
scriptures that are inviolable for the believers.
49.
Before referring to the various judgments by Mr. Shanti Bhushan,
learned senior counsel for the petitioners and the judgments relied upon by
Mr. Rajiv Dhawan and Mr. Jaideep Gupta, senior advocates for the
respondents, the basic facts pleaded by the parties may be noted with a
view to find out whether the factual foundation has been laid down and
established for claiming equality with Bordeories Samaj which elects the
Dolois as per customs. In the pleadings, petitioners have highlighted that in
the several kinds of pujas the women Bordeories take active part and hence
are equally aware of all the rituals and have the necessary qualification to
be treated as equal of men Bordeories for the purpose of electing the Dolois
and also for being a candidate. The reply of the respondents in essence is a
complete denial of aforesaid assertion with a counter plea that women
participate only as worshippers and not as priests and they have no say in
the matter of management of the temple so as to claim same knowledge and
consequent equality with the male Bordeories. Such dispute of facts may be
resolved only on basis of a detailed proper study of the customs and
practices in the temple of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya but there is no
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41
authoritative textual commentary or report which may help this Court in
coming to a definite finding that women belonging to Bordeori families are
equally adapt in religious or secular matters relating to that temple. The
relevant scriptures have also not been disclosed to this Court which could
have helped in ascertaining whether the basic religious tenets governing the
Shakti Peethas in the Kamakhya Temple would not stand violated by
permitting female Bordeories to elect or to get elected as Dolois. Hence on
facts we are not in a position to come to a definite finding on the issue of
equality for the purpose at hand as claimed by the petitioners. The same
logic is equally, if not more forcefully, applicable in the case of claim of the
Deories that they are equally situated as the Bordeories Samaj in the matter
of election of Dolois. The petitioners have also not explained at all as to why
equality be extended only to female Bordeories and Deories and not to all
and sundry.
50.
In the aforesaid situation it is always with a heavy heart that a Writ
Court has to deny relief. It may not always be safe for a Writ Court to decide
issues and facts having great impact on the general public or a large part of
it only on the basis of oath against oath. Where the right is admitted and
well established, the Writ Court will not hesitate in implementing such a
right especially a fundamental right. But enforcement of established rights
is a different matter than the establishment of the right itself. When there is
a serious dispute between two private parties as to the expertise, experience
and qualification for a particular job, the prime task before the Court is first
to analyse the facts for coming to a definite conclusion whether the right
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42
stands established and only when the answer is in affirmative, the Court
may have no difficulty in enforcing such an established right, whether
statutory, fundamental or constitutional. In the present case, as indicated
above, it is indeed difficult for this Court to come to a definite conclusion
that the petitioners claim to equality for the purpose at hand is well
established. Hence we have no option but to deny relief to the petitioners.
51.
Coming to the issues of law, on behalf of the petitioners Mr. Shanti
Bhushan placed reliance upon judgment in case of Sant Ram versus Labh
Singh, 1964 (7) SCR 756 in support of his submission that any law which
includes customs, as per Article 13 must be declared void to the extent it is
inconsistent with fundamental rights in part III of the Constitution. For the
same purpose he also placed reliance upon the case of Bhau Ram vs. B.
Baijnath Singh, 1962 (Suppl.) 3 SCR 724 and Atam Prakash vs. State of
Haryana & Ors., (1986) 2 SCC 249.
52.
On the aforesaid issue Mr. Rajiv Dhavan has pointed out a categorical
distinction that in all those three cases the concerned right was a right of
pre-emption claimed by a land holder on account of vicinage and not any
personal or religious right flowing out of religious scriptures and believes.
In Bhau Ram the pre-emption right arose out of a statute and it was found
to be against Article 19(1)(f). Only a reference was also made to Article 15.
In the case of Atam Prakash also the right was based upon Punjab
Pre-emption Act, 1913. In the case of Sant Ram on which strong reliance
has been placed, the custom based right of pre-emption was found invalid
on the ground of infringing Article 19(1)(f).
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43
53.
Mr. Dhavan has referred to as many as 13 cases as per list given
below:
1.
Shirur
Math
(The
Commissioner,
Hindu
Religious
Endowments, Madras vs. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri
Shirur Mutt.), 1954 SCR 1005
2.
Tilkayat (Tilkayat Shri Govindlalji Maharaj vs. The State of
Rajasthan & Ors.), 1964 1 SCR 561
3.
Raj Bira Kishore Deb vs. State of Orissa, 1964 7 SCR 32
4.
Seshammal and Others etc. etc. vs. State of Tamil Nadu;
1972, 2 SCC 11
5.
State of Rajasthan vs. Sajjanlal Panjawat, 1974 (1) SCC 500
6.
Pannalal Bansilal Pitti and Ors. vs. State of Andhra Pradesh
& Anr., 1996 (2) SCC 498
7.
A.S. Narayana Deekshitulu vs. State of A.P. and Ors.; 1996 9
SCC 548
8.
Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
and Ors. vs. State of U.P. & Ors. 1997 (4) SCC 606.
9.
Bhuri Nath Vs. State of J & K, 1997 (2) SCC 745.
10. Sri Kanyaka Parameswari Anna Satram Committee and Ors.
vs. Commissioner, Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments
Deptt. and Ors; 1999 7 SCC 666
11. 12. M.P. Gopalkrishnan Nair v. State of Kerala, 2005 (11) SCC 45
13. 
54.
N. Adityam v. Travancore Devaswrom Board (2002) 8 SCC 106
Durgah Committee v. Syed Hussain Ali, 1962 (1) SCR 383
It is highlighted that in all these cases relating to religious endowment
and institution, under challenge were changes in customs that had been
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44
brought about by Statutes enacted by the legislature.
According to the
respondents while granting right to profess, practice and propagate religion
under Article 25(1), by sub-clause (ii) of the same Article the Constitution
has saved the operation of any existing law and also vested power in the
State to make laws for “(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial,
political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious
practice; and (b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing
open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and
sections of Hindus.” In contrast Article 26 does not envisage any restriction
through a statute made by the State so far as freedom to manage religious
affairs is concerned. But the right under Article 26 has also been made
subservient to public order, morality and health, the same three factors that
also control the right under Article 25(1) which has been made subject to
the other provisions of Part III also.
55.
There is no need to go into all the case laws in respect of Articles 25
and 26 because by now it is well settled that Article 25(2)(a) and Article
26(b) guaranteeing the right to every religious denomination to manage its
own affairs in matters of religion are subject to and can be controlled by a
law contemplated under Article 25(2)(b) as both the articles are required to
be read harmoniously.
It is also well established that social reforms or the
need for regulations contemplated by Article 25(2) cannot obliterate
essential religious practices or their performances and what would
constitute the essential part of a religion can be ascertained with reference
to the doctrine of that religion itself. In support of the aforesaid established
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45
propositions, respondents have referred to and relied upon the judgment in
the
case
of
Shirur
Math
(The
Commissioner
Hindu
Religious
Endowments, Madras vs. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri
Shirur Mutt, 1954 SCR 1005 and also upon Shri Venkataramana Devaru
and Ors. Vs. State of Mysore and Ors. 1958 (SCR) 895.
56.
An interesting situation arose in the case of Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors.
v. State of Kerala & Ors., (1986) 3 SCC 615. School children having faith
in Jehovah’s Witnesses Sect refused to sing national anthem in their school
for which they were expelled on the basis of executive instructions
contained in circulars which obliged singing of national anthem in schools.
Such action against the children was challenged with the help of defence
based upon Articles 25(1) and 19(1)(a).
In the aforesaid judgment, this
court upheld the defence of the children on both counts. In Paragraphs 19
and 20, Article 25 was considered with a view to find out the duty and
function of the Court whenever the fundamental right to freedom of
conscience and to profess, practice and propagate religion is invoked. The
answer given in the judgment in a concise and succinct manner is as
follows:
“....Therefore, whenever the Fundamental Right to freedom of
conscience and to profess, practise and propagate religion is
invoked, the act complained of as offending the Fundamental
Right must be examined to discover whether such act is to
protect public order, morality and health, whether it is to give
effect to the other provisions of Part III of the Constitution or
whether it is authorised by a law made to regulate or restrict
any economic, financial, political or secular activity which
may be associated with religious practise or to provide for
social welfare and reform. It is the duty and function of the
court so to do. Here again as mentioned in connection with
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46
Article 19(2) to (6), it must be a law having the force of a
statute and not a mere executive or a departmental
instruction.”
57.
Respondents have also relied upon judgment of this Court in the case
of Pannalal Bansilal Pitti & Ors. v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Anr.,
1996 (2) SCC 498. The challenge in this case was to the constitutionality of
certain provisions of an Andhra Pradesh Act bringing certain reforms in
respect of Hindu Religious Institutions. At the behest of adversely affected
hereditary trustees of Hindu Religious and Charitable Institutions, this
Court considered the argument that by confining the reforms only to
Institutions maintained by Hindus, the provisions of the Act had violated
Article 14. Paragraph 12, made it clear that though an uniform law may be
highly desirable, in a democracy the legislature should have the freedom to
bring about gradual progressive changes and the process may start where
the need is most acute.
This Court further held that it would be
inexpedient and incorrect to think that all laws must be made uniformly
applicable to all people in one go. In other words the legislature has to be
trusted for bringing about necessary changes by way of reforms in matters
relating to faith and religion which at times may include personal laws
flowing from religious scriptures. In the case of Seshammal & Ors. etc.
etc. vs. State of Tamil Nadu, 1972 (2) SCC 11, paragraphs 11 and 12
exhibit a detailed discussion relating to the Agamas which contain elaborate
rules relating to construction of temple as well as consecration of the idol.
It is the religious belief of Hindu worshippers that once the image of the
deity is consecrated, it is fit to be worshipped in accordance with the
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47
detailed rituals only by a competent and trained priest. The religious belief
extends to protecting any defilement of the idol and if the image of the deity
is defiled on account of violation of any of the rules relating to worship,
purificatory ceremonies must be performed for restoring the sanctity of the
shrine. The worshipers value the rituals and ceremonies as a part of Hindu
religious faith. In paragraph 12, the Court concluded that “any State action
which permits the defilement or pollution of the image by the touch of an
Archaka not authorised by the Agamas would violently interfere with the
religious faith and practices of the Hindu worshipper in a vital respect, and
would, therefore, be prima facie invalid under Article 25(1) of the
Constitution”.
58.
In the aforesaid judgment it was also held that the matter of
appointment of a competent Archaka i.e. the priest is a secular matter and
therefore can be regulated by a State action. However, the situation may be
different and more complicated if, like in the present case, the Bordouries
are the trustees as well as the priest and the management of religious and
secular activities have been entrusted by the Bordouries themselves to their
elected representatives, the Dolois.
The element of appointment stands
substituted by the action of the trustees themselves performing the
necessary rituals. This aspect need not be pursued any further because
there is no statute framed by the State so far to regulate even the secular
affairs of the temple. Only when such State action takes place, there may
arise an occasion to examine the related issues as to whether interference
with the
custom governing appointment of Dolois would amount to
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48
regulating only the secular affairs of the temple or it shall obliterate the
essential religious practices of the institution.
59.
On considering the rival submissions and the relevant case laws, we
are inclined to agree with the submissions on behalf of the respondents that
Article 13(1) applies only to such pre-constitution laws including customs
which are inconsistent with the provisions of Part III of the Constitution and
not to such religious customs and personal laws which are protected by the
fundamental rights such as Articles 25 and 26. In other words, religious
believes, customs and practices based upon religious faith and scriptures
cannot be treated to be void. Religious freedoms protected by Articles 25
and 26 can be curtailed only by law, made by a competent legislature to the
permissible extent.
The Court can surely examine and strike down a State
action or law on the grounds of Articles 14 and 15.
But in a pluralist
society as existing in India, the task of carrying out reforms affecting
religious believes has to be left in the hands of the State.
This line of
thinking is supported by Article 25(2) which is clearly reformist in nature.
It also provides scope for the State to study and understand all the relevant
issues before undertaking the required changes and reforms in an area
relating to religion which shall always be sensitive. While performing
judicial functions stricto-sensu, the Judiciary cannot and should not be
equated with other organs of state – the executive and the legislature. This
also fits in harmony with the concept of separation of powers and spares
the judiciary or the courts to dispassionately examine the constitutionality
of State action allegedly curbing or curtailing the fundamental rights
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49
including those under Articles 25 and 26.
60.
On the related issue of the scope of Article 12 and whether for the
purposes of issuance of writ, judicial decisions by the judiciary can be
included in State action, we are in agreement with the submissions
advanced by Mr. Rajiv Dhavan that definition of ‘the State’ under Article 12
is contextual depending upon all relevant facts including the concerned
provisions in Part III of the Constitution. The definition is clearly inclusive
and not exhaustive. Hence omission of judiciary when the government and
Parliament of India as well as government and legislature of each of the
State has been included is conspicuous but not conclusive that judiciary
must be excluded. Relevant case laws cited by Mr. Dhavan are: -
(i) Pradeep Kr. Biswas vs. Indian Institute of Chemical
& Ors., (2002) 5 SCC 111
(ii) Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar And Ors vs. State of
Anr, (1966) 3 SCR 744
Biology
Maharashtra And
(iii) Triveniben vs. State of Gujarat, (1989) 1 SCC 678
(iv) Poonam vs. Sumit Tanwar, (2010) 4 SCC 460
61. Hence, in accordance with such judgments holding that judgments of
High Court and Supreme Court cannot be subjected to writ jurisdiction and
for want of requisite governmental control, Judiciary cannot be a State
under Article 12, we also hold that while acting on the judicial side the
courts are not included in the definition of the State. Only when they deal
with their employees or act in other matters purely in administrative
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50
capacity, the courts may fall within the definition of the State for attracting
writ jurisdiction against their administrative actions only. In our view, such
a contextual interpretation must be preferred because it shall promote
justice, especially through impartial adjudication in matters of protection of
fundamental rights governed by Part III of the Constitution.
62.
On the aforesaid issue Mr. Shanti Bhushan has placed reliance upon
the judgment of this Court in Harjinder Singh vs. Punjab State
Warehousing Corporation, 2010 (3) SCC 192 and Indira Nehru Gandhi
vs. Raj Narain 1975 (Suppl.) SCC 1,
The aforesaid judgments do not
require us to change our view because the issues in both the cases were
quite different. In the case of Harjinder Singh this Court while considering
the proper parameters for the exercise of writ jurisdiction, held that there
was no justification in entertaining a new plea raised by the employer for
the first time before the High Court. The context in which some minority
views that the judiciary is a State within the meaning of Article 12 of the
Constitution were noted in Paragraphs 40 and 41 of the judgment was quite
different and such exercise was undertaken only to highlight that judiciary
is essentially one of the three arms of the State and as such it must also be
aware of its responsibilities flowing from the Preamble and Article 38 of the
Constitution. At best, those observations are clearly an obiter.
63.
In order to fully appreciate the implication of including judiciary
within ‘the State’ as defined under Article 12 it may be recapitulated that in
catena of judgments it has been held that writ petitions will not be
entertained against purely private parties.
Further, elaborate tests have
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51
been laid down for finding out when an authority can be treated to be the
State for the purposes of Part III of the Constitution.
64.
If the submission of Mr. Shanti Bhushan is accepted that by simply
hearing a writ petition the Court becomes a party with same duties and
responsibilities as the State, then the rights which can be claimed only
against the State can also be claimed against all private parties because
judiciary has to hear and decide almost all cases. Such plea is required to
be noticed only for rejection otherwise all disputes against private persons
will have to be treated as a dispute against the State also, because it is
primary responsibility of the judiciary to hear and adjudicate all disputes.
The judicial forum will then loose its impartiality because petitioners, like in
the present case, will make a demand that court itself should act as the
State and deliver all reliefs in a dispute where the executive or the
legislature is not at all involved as a party. For the aforesaid reasons we find
no merit in the contention that while acting in judicial capacity the judiciary
acts as the State and hence it must, as a corollary, entertain a writ petition
against purely private parties only because the matter has been brought
before the court.
65.
The writ petitions are, therefore, liable to be dismissed for want of
merits. In some of the Writ Petitions, there is a prayer to accord a narrow
scope to Section 25A of the Act and powers of the Managing Committee
contemplated thereunder. Since that relief has already been granted in the
Appeals, the same does not require fresh consideration. With this
clarification the writ petitions are dismissed.
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66.
Since the Debutter Board is occupying some part of the premises in
the temple of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya temple on account of interim orders of
this court, all those interim orders are now vacated.
The District
administration is directed to ensure that those premises are vacated by the
members or representatives of the Debutter Board at the earliest and in any
case within four weeks. The premises and other properties of Sri Sri Maa
Kamakhya Temple shall, if required, be placed back within the same time in
possession of the Bordeories Samaj through the last elected Dolois against
receipts which shall be retained in the office of Deputy Commissioner,
Guwahati. The parties representing the Debutter board are also directed to
hand over the vacant and peaceful possession of the concerned premises
and other properties of the temple, if any, within four weeks. There shall be
no order as to costs.
67.
Before parting with the order we would like to direct in the larger
interest of Justice, that like in the past if there is any need of mediation or
intervention of an authority for election of Dolois at five years interval etc. or
for smooth functioning of affairs of the Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya Devalaya, the
concerned affected parties can approach the District Judge, Kamrup,
Guwahati who shall try and settle such disputes as in the past, till a
specific law is enacted for this purpose. In such matters the decisions of the
District Judge shall be of course subject to supervisory writ jurisdiction of
the High Court.
......................
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...........................................J.
[FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA]
.................................................................J.
[SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]
New Delhi.
July 07, 2015.

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