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Shruti Desai

WHEN A CRIMINAL MATTER IS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER STATE HIGH COURT THEN WHETHER COURT OF ORIGIN LOSES POWER AND JURISDICTION TO TRY AND ENTERTAIN REMISSION APPLICATION ?

January 9, 2024

BILKIS BANU JUDGEMENT AN ANALYSIS Yesterday two Judges bench passed an order setting aside remission given by the Gujarat High Court on the recommendation of the Gujarat Government under Section 432 (7) (b) of the Code of Civil Procedure 1973 in the matter of Bilkis Banu vs Union of India. But there is different view of 5 Judges Constitution Bench in Murugan Vs Union of India . This law needs more clarification. Brief History : These writ petitions was filed assailing the Orders dated 10.08.2022, granting remission and early release of respondent Nos.3 to 13 in Writ Petition (Crl.) No.491 of 2022 (which petition shall be considered to be the lead petition), who were all convicted, having been found guilty of committing heinous crimes during the large-scale riots in Gujarat on 28.02.2002 and a few days thereafter which occurred in the aftermath of the burning of the train incident in Godhra in the State of Gujarat on 27.02.2002. The crime in question was driven by communal hatred and resulted in twelve convicts, amongst many Writ Petition (Crl.) No.491 of 2022 Etc. others, brutally gang-raping the petitioner in Writ Petition (Crl.) No.491 of 2022, namely, Bilkis Yakub Rasool, who was pregnant at that time. Further, the petitioner’s mother was gang raped and murdered, her cousin who had just delivered a baby was also gang raped and murdered. Eight minors including the petitioner’s cousin’s two-day-old infant were also murdered. The petitioner’s three-year-old daughter was murdered by smashing her head on a rock, her two minor brothers, two minor sisters, her phupha, phupi,mama (uncle, aunt and uncle respectively) and three-cousins were all murdered. Cause of Action Bilkis Yakub Rasool, being an unfortunate victim of the heinous crimes  filed the  writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, seeking issuance of a writ, order, or direction quashing the Orders dated 10.08.2022 passed by the State of Gujarat by which the convicts in Sessions Case No.634 of 2004, Mumbai (respondent Nos.3 to 13 herein), whose convictions were upheld by a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court and thereafter by Supreme Court. On 28.06.2022, the Department of Home Affairs, Government of Gujarat, addressed a letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, seeking sanction from the Government of India on the proposal for the premature release of the prisoners, respondent Nos.3 to 13.  By letter dated 11.07.2022, the Ministry of Home Affairs, The government of India conveyed its approval under Section 435 of the CrPC for the premature release of all 11 convicts, respondent Nos.3 to 13. Pursuant to the concurrence of the Central Government, the State of Gujarat issued the impugned orders dated 10.08.2022. In the above background,  writ petitions were filed, praying, inter-alia, for issuance of a writ, order, or direction, quashing the Orders dated 10.08.2022 LEGAL ISSUE INVOLVED It was asserted inter-alia that though the crime was committed in the State of Gujarat, the investigation and trial were carried out in the State of Maharashtra under the orders of this Court. Hence, given the language of Section 432(7)(b), only the state of Maharashtra would be the appropriate […]

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RIGHTS OF RESERVATIONS AS PER POPULATION WHETHER CONSTITUTIONAL PROPOSITION?

October 4, 2023

During the last 40 years in India, politics has been divided into regional and mainstream parties. The mainstream party was the only one dominated by a family. Under its shelter, every state advanced state-level family powerhouse. They are still inter-alia in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, and Telangana. However, the said respective families would oppose state elections and partner in the central government. This continued for decades. Slowly people realised that there is a change in voting tendency. Well, let’s migrate to the topic under discussion to the current situation as the country will go for Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The small local regional parties referred to in para hereinabove along with the mainstream party formed an alliance.  They named it as INDI Alliance. This INDI Alliance has introduced a new idea to fetch more votes. They have proposed that rights on the national resources will be as per the population of a caste.  A caste having a larger population should get more facilities. During the tenure of UPA erstwhile Prime Minister said that it is in particular Muslims who has first right to the resources of this country. Please see the link https://youtube.com/shorts/UAdiboSk-vk?si=P1bjy7UvohWHj-CE PARTITION India has seen division in 1947. A bloody partition based on religion. Millions. Many shed lives and were martyred and many children lost while crossing the border. Nehru became the first PM of independent Bharat.    INDIA WAS BORN We have a constitution in force. Our constitution gives equal opportunity to all. Let us see what it provides: Article 13. Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental 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 Article 14. guarantees Equality before the law. —The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Article 15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth (1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them. (2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction, or condition with regard to— a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. (3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children. [(4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of […]

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PITH AND SUBSTANCE-  BASIC STRUCTURE OF CONSTITUTION WHY A DEBATABLE ISSUE ?

August 11, 2023

Judicial activism is most debated among the students of law and laymen. What is judicial activism? Judicial activism is exercising the power of judicial review to set aside government acts by the judiciary. Last decade we saw most of the orders passed to administer various policies of the government by the Supreme Court. From abortion of 24-week fetuses to supply of oxygen and medicine, gay rights, gay marriages, Aadhaar- PAN linking, repeal of Article 370, Ram Temple, Rafael allegation. During the coronavirus pandemic court orders were passed distribution of remdesivir, vaccine, oxygen. In Uttar Pradesh, photos of the burial of bodies at Ganga Ghat were used to create sensation and Hon’ble Court dismissed such frivolous litigation. PITH AND SUBSTANCE Origin: It is a legal doctrine originated in Canada.  The doctrine is primarily used when a law is challenged on the basis that one level of government (be it provincial or federal) has encroached upon the exclusive jurisdiction of another level of government. (as applicable in Canada) The doctrine was first articulated in Cushing v. Dupuy, where the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council held that certain rules of civil court procedure could be prescribed under the federal bankruptcy power. It was subsequently confirmed in Tennant v. The Union Bank of Canada, where rules governing warehouse receipts with respect to bank loans could be prescribed under the federal banking power. *The full test was articulated in General Motors v. City National Leasing by Dickson CJ, where he summarized and outlined the analysis to be used in that regard in future cases: The court must determine whether the impugned provision can be viewed as intruding on provincial powers, and if so to what extent. It must establish whether the act (or a severable part of it) in which the impugned provision is found is valid. In cases under the second branch of s. 91(2) this will normally involve finding the presence of a regulatory scheme and then ascertaining whether the hallmarks articulated by the Court have been met by the scheme. If the scheme is not valid, that is the end of the inquiry. If the regulatory scheme is declared valid, the court must then determine whether the impugned provision is sufficiently integrated with the scheme that it can be upheld by virtue of that relationship. This requires considering the seriousness of the encroachment on provincial powers, in order to decide on the proper standard for such a relationship. If the provision passes this integration test, it is intra- vires Parliament as an exercise of the general trade and commerce power. If the provision is not sufficiently integrated into the scheme of regulation, it cannot be sustained under the second branch of s. 91(2). *(source Wikipedia) INDIA AND THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE CONSTITUTION Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala Case, is also known as the Fundamental Rights case. It is one of the most significant decisions in Indian constitutional history, post-independence. It was heard by 13 judges’ bench of the Supreme Court. S.M. Sikri C. J., Hegde J, Mukherjee J, Shehlat J, Grover J, Jaganmohan Reddy J, and Khanna J delivered […]

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AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION  BY A JUDGEMENT AND ENCROACHING UPON THE POWER OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL HEAD A JUDICIAL OVERREACH?

March 3, 2023

 Why are we discussing this issue? Anoop Baranwal v. Union of India A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has ordered that Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President of India on the advice of a Committee consisting of the President, Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and Chief Justice of India. However, in this case, the Office of the President was not a Party. Directions were sought against the Election commission. Hence prima facie the Judgment is not binding upon her. POWER TO AMEND The power to amend the constitution is with Parliament. It is an unfettered power under Article 368 of the Constitution. However, a series of Judgements and stare decisis has put a limitation on the exercise of this power. It was felt by the Court that elected representatives may have their own agendas. The landmark judgments say that as far as fundamental rights are concerned amendment should not touch the basic structure of the constitution. ROLE OF JUDICIARY UNDER THE CONSTITUTION: The Supreme Court has the power to declare any law that it finds unconstitutional void. CAN SUPREME COURT AMEND THE CONSTITUTION BY ORDER AND JUDGMENT? On two occasions this question has arisen: The power of the President to appoint higher court Judges under Articles 124 and 217 is shielded by a Judgement and a system of collegium is formed; Amending Article 324 whereby the power of the President is veiled by a recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the matter of Anup Baranwal ( Supra); POWER OF THE PRESIDENT UNDER THE CONSTITUTION: Under Article 52 President is bestowed upon executive powers. Every power is executed in the name of the President under Article 77. WHAT ARE THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS: What is Election Commission? Under the provisions of the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business)] Act, 1991 “Chief Election Commissioner” means the Chief Election Commissioner appointed under Article 324 of the Constitution. PART XV Provides for the appointment of the Election Commission and procedure. Under Article 324 entire superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution vests in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission). APPOINTMENT The Election Commission under Article 324 consists of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners if any, is appointed by the President from time to time and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President. When any other Election Commissioner is so appointed by the President the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the Chairman of the Election Commission. Before each general election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of each State, and before the first general election and thereafter before each biennial election to the Legislative Council of each State having such Council, the […]

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CAN PARLIAMENT SET UP SPECIAL COURT TO DISPOSE OFF PENDING MATTERS? A DISCUSSION AND SUGESSIONS

February 20, 2023

  Indians are a very tolerant community. Citizens are basically law-abiding. But as per data available there are more than 5 crore cases are pending in various courts across India. This includes criminal, civil, DRT, matrimonial, adoption, insolvency, and others. There is always vacancy for Judges and there is also friction between different stakeholders regarding the method of appointment. The pending cases are monetary disputes, land disputes, agricultural land, easement, flat purchasers right, and so on. This also includes international arbitration awards and their execution. When a suit is filed immediate party moves for ad-interim reliefs by way of a Notice of Motion or Interim Application as the case may be. When the order is passed same Notice of Motion comes up for a final hearing after 5 to 10 years. By that time if Plaintiff did not get the order he loses the edge and his right. Then suit may be on board for framing of Issues may be another 5-10 years. The next stage is the affidavit of evidence, admission denial of documents, and cross-examination of witnesses. When a decree is passed it takes time of 2 to 3 years for sealing. When the decree is ready for execution if not executed then we have to take out 21×22 notice in which takes another 2 years to reach and there may be objections. So, for Plaintiff entire exercise is futile. Citizens need a remedy that is speedy and result oriented. The matter doesn’t end here after the ad-interim there is an Appeal from the Order then the Supreme Court and so on and so forth. The litigation is unending and is also costly. To overcome this situation government introduced concept of mediation. It is not much successful. As far as Arbitration is concerned the new concept of institutional arbitration is introduced. It may have been successful but not much accepted by common people like new entrepreneurs, startups, and the common citizens. That is due to cost and fees of an arbitrator. Many petitions are filed in Supreme Court challenging fees of the arbitrator. (See ONGC vs Afcons Gunanusa JV) Does the question arise what is the remedy? The remedy lies in our constitution. Article 217 says the Appointment and conditions of the office of a Judge of a High Court.—(1) Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and [shall hold office, in the case of an additional or acting Judge, as provided in article 224, and in any other case, until he attains the age of [sixty-two years]:] 126. Appointment of acting Chief Justice.—When the office of Chief Justice of India is vacant or when the Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, the duties of the office shall be performed by such one of the other Judges of the Court as the President may appoint for the purpose. 127. Appointment of ad hoc Judges.—(1) If at any time there should not be a quorum of the Judges of the Supreme Court available to hold or […]

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Collectors Land in Mumbai and Transfers

January 4, 2023

      An interesting question was asked on Twitter on collectors’ land. The question was whether it is legal to ask for transfer charges by Collector Mumbai for issuing NOC of flats in Society standing on land belonging to Collector? In Mumbai Collector owns nearly 1282 properties on which development is permitted and sanctioned on Lease. As per the latest data available about 517 properties’ Lease has been expired and in Mumbai leases of about 149 properties have been expired. The government has given this land on meager yearly lease rent. So the Government prescribed a policy for the increase in ground rent on 5th October 1999. Which was challenged and directions were given to give a hearing to those whose lease has been expired and also give an opportunity to convert occupancy to Class II occupants on one-time payments as specified in the Circular. The lease of land for purposes other than Agriculture is granted under provisions inter-alia of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966 (“ Said Code” ) and the Maharashtra Land Revenue (Disposal of Government Lands) Rules, 1971 ( Said “ Rules”) . The Said Rule B-26 -27 empowers Collector to Grant Land for Residential use. It reads as under B. Grant of land for residential use 26. Disposal of building sites :- (1) Except as otherwise provided in these rules, the occupancy rights in building sites shall be disposed of by the Collector under Section 20 read with Section 31 by publication to the highest bidder, unless for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Collector thinks that in any particular case, there is reason for granting the land without auction. (2) Where a building site is to be disposed of without auction under sub-rule(1), the Collector shall dispose of the site in occupancy right under Section 20 read with Section 31 on inalienable tenure  [If the occupancy price determined under sub-rule(3) does not exceed Rs. 25,000 and with sanction of the Commissioner, if the occupancy price exceeds Rs. 25,000 but does not exceeds Rs. 1,00,000 and with the sanction of the State Government, in other cases.] (3) The Collector shall determine the occupancy price of the site, regard being had to the following factors that is to say, (a) the sale prices of similar lands in the locality; (b) the situation of the building site; (c) the availability of, and demand for, similar lands; (d) factors which are taken into account in determining the value of land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. 27. Grant of land housing schemes :-Building plots may be granted by the State Government for various housing schemes undertaken by any housing board, local authority or co-operative housing society constituted under any law for the time being in force, in occupancy rights under Section 40 on inalienable and impartible tenure on payment of such concessional occupancy price as the State Government may, from time to time fix, regard being had to the nature of the scheme, and in the case of a co-operative housing society, to the income of the members, thereof, such income being ascertained after making such inquiries […]

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CAN SOCIETY CHARGE MAINTENANCE CHARGES ON AREA WISE BY WHICH LARGER FLAT OWNERS CONTRIBUTE A LESSER AMOUNT THAN SMALLER UNITS?

September 30, 2022

  Nowadays an ultra-vires method of chargability has been adopted by several societies. The committee uses its majority power and misguides the General Body of members and passes the resolution.  Chargeability on unit-wise results in higher contribution by small flat owners and lower contribution by larger flat owners. Maintenance charges are the foundation to run the expenses of the society. Now first let us see the provisions in the Act of 1960 and the byelaws. Byelaws are contracts between the management and society. Any breach of byelaws amounts to a breach of contract and breach of trust. Any discrimination made is a serious breach of equal rights granted under the constitution of India. BYE-LAWS PROVISIONS FOR CHARGABILITY OF MAINTENANCE: LEVY OF CHARGES OF THE SOCIETY The contribution to be collected from the Members of the Society, towards outgoing and establishment of its funds, referred to in these bye-laws as ‘the charges’ may be in relation to the following : (i) Property Taxes, (ii) Water Charges, (iii) Common Electricity Charges, (iv) Contribution to Repairs and Maintenance Fund, (v) Expenses on repairs and maintenance of the lifts of the Society, including charges for running the lift. (vi) Contribution to the Sinking Fund, (vii) Service Charges, (Viii) Car Parking Charges, (ix) Interest on the defaulted charges, (x) Repayment of the installment of the loan and interest, (xi) Non-occupancy Charges, (xii) Insurance Charges, (xiii) Lease rent, (xiv) Nonagricultural tax. (xv) Education and Training Fund (xvi) Election Fund (xvii) Any Other Charges. The Service charges of the Society referred to at 64 (vii) above shall include the following: Salaries of the office staff, liftmen, watchmen, malis and any other employees of the Society. Where the Society has independent Office, the property taxes, electricity charges, water charges etc. for the same. Printing, Stationery and Postage, Travelling Allowance and conveyance charges to the staff and the Members of the Committee of the Society. Sitting fees paid to the Members of the Committee of the Society, Subscription to the Education Fund of the Maharashtra Rajya Sahakari Sangh Ltd. Annual Subscription of the Housing Federation and any other co-operative institution to which the Society is affiliated. Entrance fees for affiliation to the Housing Federation and any other cooperative institution. Audit Fees for internal, Statutory and reaudit, if any. Expenses incurred at meetings of the general body, the Committee and the Sub-Committee, if any k. Retainer fees, legal charges, statutory enquiry fees. Common electricity charges. Any other charges approved by the General Body at its Meeting. However such charges should not contradict the provisions of the Act, Rules and Bye-laws of the Society. 66. The Committee shall apportion the Share of each Member towards the charges of the Society on the following basis: Property taxes: As fixed by the Local Authority Water Charges: On the basis of the total number and size of inlets provided in each flat. iii. Expenses on repairs and maintenance of the building/buildings of the Society: At the rate fixed at the general body from time to time, subject to the minimum of 0.75 percent per annum, of the construction cost of each flat for meeting […]

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LAW GOVERNING DIVORCE BY MUTUAL CONSENT AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL  PROVISION

September 22, 2022

MARRIAGES ARE DECIDED IN HEAVEN BUT LIVED ON EARTH Introduction: Couples are so eager to get married but are not ready to accept duties and responsibilities. The problem starts from here. Marriage is the foundation of a healthy society. A fractured family gives a fractured and weak society. It gives an insecure future to the nation. Families spend lakhs and crores on the wedding with branded dresses, pre-wedding shoots, food, and ornaments but don’t focus on the spiritual and social aspects of marriage. So once the film of a wedding is over, couples enter the world of reality and find it difficult to manage their relationship with each other and with other family members. From divorce they give an insecure future to their kid if any, and to themselves. Their family members too. As laws in India are such people avoid staying together in fear of criminal prosecution, which is evidently misused in the majority of cases on advice to get divorce and alimony. As per data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in the report Crime in India 2020 about 5% of the cases under Section 498A were found to be false. The outcome is couples prefer to leave the country and settle abroad and seniors land in old age homes. These are serious dangers to society. So, should divorce by Mutual Consent be instant? Should six months cooling period be waived? If Yes,  on what terms? If No, then why? The issue involved: A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will start hearing on 28th September,  to consider the extent of its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, 1950, to dissolve the marriage. The 5-Judge Bench headed by Justice S.K. Kaul and comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, AS Oka, Vikram Nath, and JK Maheshwari was of the opinion that the real issue is the exercise of power under Article 142 when there is an irretrievable breakdown of marriage, but one party is not consenting to divorce. Shilpa Shailesh vs Varun Sreenivasan The Constitution Bench reference originates from a Transfer petition, wherein pursuant to the settlement, the parties had sought appropriate order of the Court to dissolve their marriage, and the same was granted by the Apex Court on the following grounds – there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage between the parties; the parties are consenting to divorce; requiring the parties to go to the jurisdictional family court to invoke the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to seek a decree of divorce would be a lengthy process and that, the Family Courts in the country are already burdened with a huge volume of similar litigation. Dictum: Man is a social animal. He cannot live in isolation. To carry forward the human race a sacred institution is created by the name of marriage to have progeny. Who will continue the family tradition, language, dialect, culture, food habits, etcetera. In Hindus, marriage is a sacred institution and not contractual. It carries the sanctity of an institution namely marriage. What is important is to carry forward the family legacy too. Divorce was an […]

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CAN THE COURT RESTRAIN THE ELECTION COMMISSION TO DISCHARGE ITS CONSTITUTIONAL DUTIES WHEN THE HEARING OF THE MATTER IS NOT OVER? DOES IT AMOUNT TO ENCROACHMENT IN THE TERRITORY OF AN INDEPENDENT CONSTITUTIONAL BODY? MAHARASHTRA SHIV SENA SPLIT AND CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH

August 24, 2022

“Of course, inasmuch as the power of altering every feature of the Constitution remains elsewhere politically, the Constitution is neither the ultimate ‘‘political’’ sovereign nor a legally unalterable and absolute sovereign. All constitutional and ‘‘legal’’ sovereigns are necessarily restrained and limited sovereigns. I thought and still think that such a working theory should be acceptable to lawyers, particularly as the dignitaries of State, including Judges of superior Courts, and all the legislators, who have to take oaths prescribed by the Third Schedule of our Constitution, swear ‘‘allegiance’’ to the Constitution as though the documents itself is a personal Ruler. This accords with our own ancient notions of the law as ‘‘The King of Kings’’ and the majesty of all that it stands for: The Rightfulness of the Ends as well as of the means.” Kesvananda Bharti’s case (AIR 1973 SC 1461) The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to a Constitution Bench the petitions filed by the rival groups of Shiv Sena in relation to the political development in State of Maharashtra.  This is Breaking News today. Several questions are before Supreme Court which will now constitute five Judges Bench. I will not touch the same. But can Court by its order restrain any constitutional independent body from discharging its function under the constitution for which it is constituted? First, let us see relevant provisions. Part XV of the Constitution provides for elections. Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.—(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution 1*** shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission). (2) The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President. (3) When any other Election Commissioner is so appointed the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the Chairman of the Election Commission. (4) Before each general election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of each State, and before the first general election and thereafter before each biennial election to the Legislative Council of each State having such Council, the President may also appoint after consultation with the Election Commission such Regional Commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the Election Commission in the performance of the functions conferred on the Commission by clause (1). (5) Subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners shall be such as the President may by rule determine: Provided that the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the […]

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GYAN VAPI AND TEMPLES APPLICABILITY OF “PLACES OF WORSHIP LAW- 1991” –DISCUSSION

May 22, 2022

       MEANING OF GYAN VAPI: This was derived from the name of an adjoining waterbody — Gyan Vapi (“Well of Knowledge”) — which was a sacred site in itself and, in all likelihood, predated the Vishweshwar temple.   CAUSE FOR THIS DISCUSSION: CONTEMPORARY CIRCUMSTANCES  In the year 1991 parliament passed a law namely an Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August 1947 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This Act is currently a topic of hot discussion. The incident which brought this law into the public domain is a suit order by Senior Division Civil Court Varanasi in which one Sohanlal Arya has claimed that Gyan Vapi Mosque is the temple. The said temple structure was partially demolished as per orders of the then Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. By an order Civil court carried out the survey in the meantime Muslim community leaders approached the Supreme Court to seek a stay of the proceedings before the Varanasi court. The Supreme Court has granted a stay and is now hearing the matter. The Supreme Court has also by its order transferred the suit to Varanasi Court District Judge. BRUTAL HISTORY OF INVASION, CONVERSION, AND DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES IN INDIA : Indian history is full of conflict, invasion, and bloodshed. Hindus had to face atrocities at the hands of invaders.  India was invaded by many foreign forces and two large invaders are the Mughals and Britishers. Aurangzeb was a cruel Mughal dynast, and he ordered for demolishing of temples. They converted Hindus to Islam by force. This painful, harsh, brutal, unkind history of this land cannot be erased, forgotten, and denied. Below is a map of the Mughal Empire: Antecedents and history: General Order of the destruction of Temples: 9th April 1669 One of the main objectives of Aurangzeb’s policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666) removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed ‘In the religion of the Musalmans it is improper even to look at a temple’, and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh (Exhibit No. 6, Akhbarat, 13th October 1666). This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi (Exhibit No. 6, 7, 8, Akhbarat, 3rd and 12th September 1667). In 1669, shortly after the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a general order was issued (9th April 1669) for the demolition of temples and established schools of the Hindus throughout the empire and banning public worship (Exhibit Nos. 9 & 10). Soon after this the great temple of Keshava Rai was destroyed (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Exhibit No. 12) and in its place a lofty mosque was erected. The idols, the author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri informs, were carried to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque built by Begum Sahiba in order to be continually trodden upon, and the name of […]

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