1 ® IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA DHARWAD BENCH DATED THIS THE17H DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2015 PRESENT THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE ANAND BYRAREDDY AND THE HONOURABLE MRS.JUSTICE S.SUJATHA WRIT PETITION Nos.64805-64868 OF2011(GM-R/C) CONNECTED WITH WRIT PETITION Nos.65648-65680 OF2011(GM-R/C) WRIT PETITION Nos.72157 OF2012AND8079680822 OF2013(GM-R/C) WRIT PETITION No.65539 OF2012(GM-R/C) IN W.P.Nos.64805-64868/2011 BETWEEN:
2. Shri Maha Ganapati Shankara Devasthana, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Sole Trustee, Shri Gajanan S Hegde. Shri Bhuvararah Narasimh Devasthan, Halashi, 3.
8. 2 Khanapur, Belgaum District, Represented by its sole Trustee, Shri V.V.Paripatyadar. Shri Ganapati Devasthan, College Road, Belgaum, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Prabhakar B Chopade. Shri Shanishawar Dev. Patil Galli, Belgaum, Represented by its Poojari and Trustee, Shri Anand V Adhyapak. Shri Paramarth Niketan Trust, Shri Hari Mandir, Angol Road, Belgaum, Represented by its President, Shri Chaitanya Kamalakar Mallapur. Shri Parati Nagalingeshwar Trust, Ankali Road, Chikkodi, Belgaum District, Represented by its Chairman, Shri R.M.Musandi. Shri Maruti Dev, Karward, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Dattatray R Swar. Shri Marikamba Temple, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its President. 3 Shri Rajaram M Hegde. Shri Ramanath Devasthan, Majali, Karwar, U.K.District. Represented by its sole Trustee, Shri Raveendra N Powar. Chandaguli, Yellapur, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Venkatraman S Bhat.
10. Shri Siddivinayak Dev, 11. Shri Gramadevi Devasthan, 12. Shri Shivanath Dev Temple, Yellapur, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Rajaram B Bhat. Mudgeri, Karwar, U.K.District, represented by its Trustee, Shri Shiva V Naik.
13. Shri Ramaling Dev, Idgundi, Yellapur, U.K.District, represented by its Trustee, Shri Krishna T Gaonkar.
14. Shri Shanta Durga Devi Temple, Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Sheshagiri V Nadakarni. 4 Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Krishna D Shetty. Bangarpet, Khanapur, Belgaum District, Represented by its President, Shri B.R. Chitragar.
15. Shri Aryadurga Devi Samsthan, 16. Shri Ravalanath Devasthan, 17. Shri Bankanatheshwara and Kashivishweshvar Temples, Bankikodla, Kumta, U.K.District, Represented by its Secretary, Shri Atmaram S Balavalli. Bankikodla, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Chairman, Shri Shreedhar R Murudeshwar.
18. Shri Seeta Rameshwar Dev, 19. Shri Hanumanta Dev Temple, 20. Shri Shantika Parameshwari Devasthana, Chandavar, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri A.R.Naik. Nadumaskeri, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee. Shri V.G.Gaonkar. 5 Durgakeri, Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri K.N.Hegdekar.
21. Shri Bobbar Dev, Vannalli, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Goli Annappa Naik.
22. Shri Durgadevi Devasthan, 23. Shri Laxminarayan Devasthan, 24. Shri Subramanya Dev, 25. Shri Mariyamma @ Dandin Durga Devi, 26. Shri Ramanath Grama Purush Devasthan, Hankon, Karwar, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Narayan R Naik. Devikhan, Manki, Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Narayan R Bhat. Mugwa, Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Subray T Hegde. Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri A.N.Mesta. 6 Alvekodi, Bhatkal, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Ramanath V Pai. Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Anil K. Bacholkar. Amdalli, Karwar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Dinkar S Gaonkar.
27. Shri Durga Parameshwari Temple, 28. Shri Mallikarjun Devasthan, 29. Shri Grama Devasthana, 30. Shri Shivanath Ravalanath Devasthan, 31. Shri Shanta Durga Mahamaya @ 32. Shri Keshava Narayana Mahadev, BhuDevi Trust Committee, Chendiya, Karwar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri C.B.Naik. Mahamaya Temple, Sadashivgada, Karwar, U.K.District, Represented by its Treasurer, Shri Shivanand G Rane. Baad, Karward, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee. Shri S.V.Shirodkar. 7 Baad, Karwar, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Shivanand D Kadam.
33. Shri Mahadeva Vinayaka Devasthan, 34. Shri Vinayaka Dev, Madguni, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri R.V.Bhat.
35. Shri Vishveshwar Dev Trust, 36. Shri Maruti Devasthan Trust, 37. Shri Vinayak Dev, 38. Shri Sharadamba Devi Devasthan, Uppinapattan, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri V.G.Bhat. Antravalli, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri R.V.Bhat. Havagi, Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Devaraj R Patil. Rathabeedi, Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its President, 8 Shri R.J.Mesta. Rathabeedi, Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Tulasidas S Shet.
39. Shri Ganapati Devasthan, 40. Shri Ganapati Dev, Hunasekoppa, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri C.N.Hegde.
41. Shri Shanata Durga Devi, 42. Shri Dharanath Dev, Dhareshvar, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Laxman M Prabhu.
43. Shri Shri Kshetra Sogal Jeernodhar Samiti, 44. Shri Ramalingeshvara Devasthana, Grama Devi, Bommayya Dev, Veera Dev, Hichakada, Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Vithoba B Nayak. Note: Trust not having its seal. Savadatti, Belgaum District, Represented by its Chairman, Shri D.V.Sangannavar. Mavinamane, Yellapur, 9 U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Ganesh Hebbar. Hegade, Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Nagesh B Shanbhag.
45. Shri Shantika Parameshvari Devi, 46. Shri Kumbheshvara Devasthan, 47. Shri Shantika Parameshvari Devasthana, 48. Shri Venkatraman Devasthana, 49. Shri Maha Ganapati Devalaya, 50. Shri Gangadhareshvara Devalaya, Heravatta, Kumta, U.K.District, Represented by its Presidetn. Shri Shirinivas G Shanbhag. Kumata, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri V.G.Bhat. Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri K.I.Naik. Kondi, Siddapur, U.K.District, Represnted by its Trustee, Shri L.G.Bhat. Kondi, Siddapur, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, 10 Shri L.G.Bhat. Sannalli, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Shripad G Hegde. Bakkala, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Gajanan N Bhat. Benli-Onikeri, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Ganapati D Hegde. Bisalakoppa, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Subray S Bhat.
51. Shri Suryanarayana Devaru, 52. Shri Ganapati Dev, 53. Shri Satyanatheshvara Devasthana, 54. Shri Laxmi Narasimha Devaru, 55. Shri Madhukeshvara Devasthana, 56. Shri Laxmi Devi, Banavasi, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Chairman, Shri T.G. Nadiger. Basawan Galli, Belgaum, 11 Represented by its Trustee, Smt. Pushpalata B Kammar. Kulkod, Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Tulasidas H Shet.
57. Shri Gopalkrishna Dev, 58. Havyaka Grama Samsthe, Shri Durga Parameshvari, Shri Sarpakarneshvar Dev, Shri Chenna Keshava Dev, Shri Mood Ganapati Dev, Karki, Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its Sole Trustee, Shri H.T.Bhagvat.
59. Shri Ishvara Dev, 60. Shri Kote Vinayaka Devasthana 61. Shri Maha Ganapati Devasthana, Hasvante, Siddapur, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri Holiyappa B Gouda. Guddetota, Siddapur, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Ganapati H Bhat. Itaguli, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, 12 Shri Ramachandra R Hegde. Shivalli Matha, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Venkataraman T Hegde.
62. Shri Ganapati Devaru, 63. Shri Laxminarayana Devasthana, 64. Shri Datta Sansthan, Kanabargi, Belgaum, Represented by its Trustee, Shri Laxmikanth K Deshpande. Balekundri, Belgaum, Represented by its Vice President, Shri Pratap S Kulakarni. … PETITIONERS (By Shri Subramanya Jois, Senior Advocate for Shri A.P.Hegde Janmane, Advocate) AND:
1. State of Karnataka, Represented by Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore. Secretary to Government, Department of Endowment and Charitable Institutions, M.S.Building, Bangalore.
2. 13 3. Commissioner, Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments, K.G.Road, Bangalore.
4. Deputy Commissioner, Uttara Kannada District, Karwar.
5. Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum District, Belgaum. (By Shri M.N.Rao, Senior Advocate Government Advocate) … RESPONDENTS for Shri C.S.Patil, These petitions are filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to declare that the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011 (Karnataka Act No.27 of 2011) as discriminatory, violative of constitutional rights, unconstitutional and strike down the same in its entirety and etc; IN W.P.Nos.65648-65680/2011 BETWEEN:
1. Shri Mhatobar Murudeshwar Temple, Murudeshwar, Taluk Bhatkal, U.K.District, Represented by its Managing Trustee, Shri R.N.Shetty.
7. 14 Shree Hanumanth Devaru, Nadig Galli, Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shri L.G.Raykar. Shree Venkatraman Dev. Shree Kshetra Manjaguni, Sirsi Taluk, U.K.District, Represented by its Administrator, Shri Shrinivas A Bhat. Shree Ashwath Ganapati Devasthan, Tadadi, Kumta Taluk, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree Dattatraya S Chodankar. Shree Shankar Narayan Dev. Tenkankeri, Tal-Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree Venkatraman G Naik. Shree Kogre Gram Dev Trust, Kogre, Tal-Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Managing Trustee, Shree Govindray R Nayak. Shree Maruti Devasthan Anesalu, Bilagi, Tal-Siddapur, U.K.District, Represented by its President, 15 Shree Jaganmata Durga Parameshwari Temple, Kadavinakatta, Bhatkal Taluk, U.K.District, Represented by its Managing Trustee, Shree Shankar V Acharya. Shree Shantaram G Gouda. Devasthan, Yafadimath, Tal-Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Dinesh G Hegde. Shree Sadashiv Dev Aghanashini, Kumta Taluk, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Narayan V Sabhahit.
10. Shree Vanadevate and Chennakeshav 11. Shree Channapattan Hanumant Temple, 12. Shree Rameshwar Dev.
13. Shree Siddhalingeshwar Devasthan Rathabeedi, Bhatkal, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Surendra H Shanbhag. Ramateertha, Tal-Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Vithal S bhat. Siddheshwar, Tal-Kumta, U.K.District, Represented by its President, 16 Shree Subray M Bhat. Arabail, Tal-Yellapur, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Bhaskar S Bhat. Analgar, Tal-Yellapur, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Gopalkrishna T Bhat.
14. Shreee Channeshwar Ramalinga Dev, 15. Shree Gopalkrishna Temple, 16. Shree Kanchika Parameshwari Dev.
17. Shree Laxmidevi and Shree Dyamavva, 18. Shree Kalmeshwar Devasthan, 19. Shree Kalmeshwar, Baad, Gudengadi, Tal-Kumta, U.K.District, Represented by its Managing Trustee, Shree Gajanan M Pavaskar. Gokak, Belgaum Dsitrict, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Ravindra R Maldinni. Halur, Mundgod, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree K.B.Kollanavar. Shree Maruti, Shree Marevva and Durgavva Temple Trust, 17 Represented by its Trustee, Shree M.C.Patil. Mundgod, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree K.b.Kollanavar. Hale Bazar, Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Ganapati Shetty. Gramadevi, Bommayya Dev and Beera Dev. Hichakada, Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Vithoba B Naik.
20. Shree Basavanna Devasthan, 21. Shree Mahaganapati Devasthan, 22. Shree Shanta Durga Devi, 23. Shree Bhatte Vinayak Devasthan 24. Shree Shantika Parameshwari Devasthan, 25. Shree Chavateppa Devasthan, Hosamath, Tal-Siddapur, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree L.V.Hegde. Holegadde, Tal-Kumta, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Shree Ram S bhat. Guttigeri, Haliyal, 18 Mundaki, Tal-Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree Rudrappa D Dhepi. Tergaon, Tal-Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree N.G.Patankar. Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree Aravind Hallikeri. U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree Sajjan Shivappa.
26. Shree Sooryanarayan Devasthan, 27. Shree Temples Trust Committee, 28. Shree Venkatraman Devasthan, 29. Shree Maruti Devasthan, 30. Shree Bakambika Trust Committee, 31. Shree Pete Basaveshwara Devasthan, Horagina Guttigeri, Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree Maruti Patil. Antrolli, Tal-Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Shree Subhas Bhovi. Haliyal, U.K.District, 19 Represented by its Trustee, Shree Shivanand Shettar. Kusur, Tal-Mundgod, Represented by President, Shree L.D.Ratod.
32. Shree Durgadevi Trust Committee, 33. Shree Udachavva Devi, (By Shri Subramanya Jois, Senior Advocate for Shri A.P.Hegde Janmane, Advocate) AND:
1. Laxmi Devi Trust, Gramadevi Galli, Haliyal, U.K.District, Represented by its Chairman, Shree Mangesh R Deshapande. …PETITIONERS State of Karnataka, Represented by Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore. Secretary to Government, Endowment Department, M.S.Building, Bangalore.
3. Commissioner, Hindu Religious Institutions and 20 Charitable Endowments, K.G.Road, Bangalore.
4. Deputy Commissioner, Uttara Kannada, Karwar.
5. Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum District, Belgaum. (By Shri M.N.Rao, Senior Advocate Government Advocate) … RESPONDENTS for Shri C.S.Patil, These petitions are filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to declare that the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011 (Karnataka Act No.27 of 2011) as discriminatory, violative of constitutional rights, unconstitutional and strike down the same in its entirety and etc; IN W.P.Nos.72157/2012 AND8079680822/ 2013 BETWEEN:
1. Shri Durgadevi Temple Trust Committee, Hirekerur, Haveri District. Represented by its Chairman Shri Jagdish B. Tambakad.
2. Shri Kokkeshwar Shambhuling Dev Manki, Tal- Honaavar, U.K. District, 21 Represented by its Managing Trustee Nagraj Ganapati Naik.
3. Shri Channabasaveshwar Trust Committee, Ulavi, Taluk: Joida, U.K. District, Represented by its Vice Chairman Sanjay B. Kittur.
4. Shri Laxmi Narasimha Adi Keshav Dev Kaginelli, Taluk: Byadagi, Haveri District, Represented by its President Krishna G. Kulkarni.
5. Shri Bommayya Devaru Tenkankeri, Taluk: Ankola, U.K. District, Represented by its Defacto Trustee Govindray V. Naik.
6. Shri Mahaganapati Devasthan, Heepanalli, Taluk: Sirsi, U.K. District, Represented by its President Manjunath M. Hegde.
7. Shri Shanta Durga Devi Temple Trust Committee, Ankola, U.K. District, Represented by its Managing Trustee S.V. Nadkarni.
8. Shri Laxminarayan Dev, Honnavar, U.K. District, Represented by its President K.N. Hegdekar.
9. Shri Ganapat Dev, Vaishya Vani Samaj, Rathbeedi, Honaavar, U.K. District, 22 Represented by its Trustee Tulsidas Shet.
10. Shri Chennakeshav Devaru, Shigehalli, Taluk: Sirsi, U.K. District, Represented by its Trustee Shantaram V. Hegde.
11. Shri Vithal Rukumayi Devasthan, Honnavar, Represented by its Trustee Madhav Keshav Shet.
12. Shri Shambhuling Dev, Ram Kshatriya Samithi, Kokkeshwar, Manki, Taluk: Honnavar, U.K. District, Represented by its President Hanumant Manjunath Naik.
13. Shri Shambhuling Dev, Gunavanthe, Taluk: Honnavar, U.K. District, Represented by its Trustee Narayan Rama Pandit.
14. Shri Rameshwar Dev, Ramatirtha, Taluk: Honnavar, U.K. District, Represented by its Trustee Vithal S. Bhat.
15. Shri Gopalkrishna Dev, Kulkod, Taluk: Honnavar, U.K. District, Reprseented by its Trustee Tulsidas Hari Shet.
16. Shri Mallikarjun Devastan, Haliyal, U.K. District, 23 Represented by its Trustee A.K. Bacholkar.
17. Shri Durgadevi Devikan, Manki, Taluk: Honnavar, U.K. District, Represented by its Trustee Narayan R. Bhat.
18. Shri Holevatar Dev, Vandige, Taluk: Ankola, U.K. District, Represented by its President Harish Devanna Naik.
19. Shri Bommayya Dev & Biligiri Amma Dev, Bole-Hoskeri, Taluk: Ankola, U.K. District, Represented by its Trustee Chandrahas Krishna Naik.
20. Shri Bobrudev Development Committee, Bobruwada, Taluk: Ankola, U.K. District, Represented by its President Pratap Naik.
21. Shri Gramadev & Parivar Devaru, Alageri, Taluk: Ankola, U.K. District, Represented by its Trustee Sheshagiri Mahadev Naik.
22. Shri Dattatraya Devasthan, 23. Shri Ramanath Dev. Avarsa, Tal-Ankola, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Vasant Dattaram Shet. 24 Asnoti, Tal-Karwar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Prabhakar Salunke. Onikeri, Tal-Sirsi, U.K.District, Represented by its President, Ganapati Dattatraya Hegde. Samithi, Sogala, Tal-Savadatti, Belgaum District, Represented by its Chairman, D.V.Sangannavar.
24. Shri Kshetra Sogala Jeernodhara 25. Shri Laxmi Narasimha Devaru, 26. Shri Shantika Parameshwari and 27. Shri Choleshwar Devasthan, 28. Shri Kasmudi Hanumant Temple, Parivar Devaru, Aggargon, Tal-Honnavar, U.K.District, Represented by its Trustee, Dayanand Narayan Nayak. Nehru Road, Bhatkal, U.K.District, Represented by its Vahivatdar, Prakash R Adiga. Chouthani, Bhatkal, U.K.District, Represented by its Vahivatdar, 25 …PETITIONERS Prakash R Adiga. (By Shri Subramanya Jois, Senior Advocate for Shri A.P.Hegde Janmane, Advocate) AND:
1. State of Karnataka, Represented by Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore. Secretary to Government, Endowment Department, M.S.Building, Bangalore.
3. Commissioner, Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments, K.G.Road, Bangalore.
4. Deputy Commissioner, Uttara Kannada, Karwar.
5. Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum District, Belgaum. … RESPONDENTS26(By Shri M.N.Rao, Senior Advocate Government Advocate) for Shri C.S.Patil, These petitions are filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to declare that the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011 (Karnataka Act No.27 of 2011) as discriminatory, violative of constitutional rights, unconstitutional and strike down the same in its entirety and etc; IN W.P.No.65539/2012 BETWEEN: Shri Mahakali (Mayakka) Devi Trust, Chinchali, Tal-Raybag, Belgaum District, Represented by its President, Jeetendra Rachoji Rao Jadhav, Aged about 50 years, President, Shri Mahakali (Mayakka) Devi Trust, Chinchali, Tal-Raybag, Belgaum District. (By Shri Subramanya Jois, Senior Advocate for Shri A.P.Hegde Janmane, Advocate) AND:
1. …PETITIONER State of Karnataka, Represented by Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, Vidhana Soudha, 2. 27 Bangalore. State of Karnataka, Secretary to Government, Endowment Department, M.S.Building, Bangalore.
3. Commissioner, Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments, K.G.Road, Bangalore.
4. Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum District, Belgaum.
5. Assistant Commissioner, Chikkodi Sub-Division, Chikkodi, District Belgaum. (By Shri M.N.Rao, Senior Advocate Government Advocate) …RESPONDENTS for Shri C.S.Patil, This petition is filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to declare that the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011 (Karnataka Act No.27 of 2011) as discriminatory, violative of constitutional rights, unconstitutional and strike down the same in its entirety and etc; 28 These petitions having been heard and reserved on 05.10.2015 at Dharwad Bench, Dharwad and coming on for pronouncement of Orders at the Principal Bench, Bengaluru, this day, Anand Byrareddy J., delivered the following:-ORDER
These petitions are heard and disposed of by this common order.
2. The petitions in WP65648680/2011 and WP64805 868/2011, which are filed challenging the constitutional validity of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011 (Act no.22/2011), were by an order dated 9.2.2012, directed by a learned single judge to be placed before a division bench - for disposal, with an intention that one stage of appeal be avoided and having regard to the need for an expeditious decision by this court.
3. The background to the legislation in controversy is stated to be as follows :- 29 The State of Mysore, which stood reorganized by the States Re-organisation Act, 1956, (Hereinafter referred to as the ‘SR Act’, for brevity) with effect from 1.11.1956 and which stood re-christened as the State of Karnataka, with effect from 1.11.1973, is composed of the erstwhile princely State of Mysore, the erstwhile province of Coorg and parts of the erstwhile States of Bombay, Hyderabad and Madras. In each of the above States and province, there were separate enactments governing temples and other religious institutions situate within those regions. With the coming into force of the SR Act, it became obligatory for the State of Mysore to enact a uniform law, which would govern all the temples, religious institutions, denominations, maths etcetera. In this regard, there were said to be two abortive attempts in the year 1963 and in 1977, respectively, to remove the inequality between temples and the maths situated in South Kanara District and those situated in other parts of the State. The Apex Court had thus been prompted to observe in the case of Shri Swamiji of Admar Math v. 30 The Commissioner, HR & C Endowment Department, AIR1980SC1 that the State did not make any effort to bring a uniform law which would be applicable to the entire State, in the matter of governance of Hindu Religious denominational temples etc. It was only in the year 1997 that the Karnataka Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Bill was said to have been introduced, which had received the assent of the President of India as on 25.10.2001. Pursuant to which, it was enacted as Karnataka Act no.33 of 2001. It was brought into force vide notification dated 1.5.2003. However, by a notification dated 30.4.2003, a day before the Act was brought into force, 34000 temples were declared as notified temples for purposes of Section 23 of the Act. This was promptly challenged by the Devalaganagapur Narasimhasaraswathi Math, Ganagapura, before the Gulbarga Bench of this court. A learned single judge had quashed the said notification, which was affirmed by a division bench in appeal. The matter is said to be pending before the Apex Court. 31 The Karnataka Act no.33/2001 itself having been assailed in a large number of writ petitions before this court, a learned single judge had dismissed the same. In appeals before a Division bench, it was held that the enactment was ultra vires Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India. That verdict is the subject matter of appeals before the Apex Court. There was an interim order granted by the Apex Court dated 2.4.2007 to the following effect :- " Issue notice. Interim stay in the meantime. Ms.Kiran Suri, Mr.S.N.Bhat and Mr.P.P.Singh, Advocates takes notice on behalf of the respondents."
By a further Order dated 31.7.2009, the same was modified as follows :- "Interim Order dated 02.04.2007 is vacated in so far as Section 25 of the Act is concerned."
This was possibly on account of the complaint of the respondents therein that the State was seeking to arbitrarily 32 exercise power under Section 25 of the Act, by virtue of the Order of stay. Further, even during the pendency of the appeals before the Apex Court, the State Government is said to have constituted a High Level Committee, headed by Justice M. Rama Jois (Retired), to give suggestions for better administration of temples in the State and to make recommendations for amendment to the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 (Hereinafter referred to as the ‘KHRICE Act’, for brevity). The said Committee having submitted its report, the State Government is said to have enacted Act No.27 of 20ll, (Hereinafter referred to as the ‘2011 Amendment Act’, for brevity) purportedly making comprehensive amendments to the principal Act. The amendments were said to have been given effect to from 4.5.2011. The State had hence filed an application seeking permission to enforce the amended Section 25 of the Act as amended by the 2011 Amendment Act. The said application was disposed of by 33 the Apex Court, by an order dated 10.10.2011, in the following terms :
"The State has filed an application (I.A.no.17) seeking permission to give effect to the amended Section 25 of the Act. The interim Order granted was with reference to the then existing Section 25. Amended Section 25 is not the subject matter of the said interim order. Therefore the application is redundant. It is open to the writ petitioners who have challenged the amended Section 25 to seek interim relief before the High Court. I A no.17 is disposed of accordingly. " Now during the pendency of these petitions, challenging the constitutional validity of the 2011 Amendment Act, which primarily centres around Section 25 of the principal Act (Act no.33/2001), the said section which was inserted in the Principal Act with the amendments brought about by the 20ll Amendment Act has now been "omitted" from the statute book by the Karnataka Act no.12/2012, (Hereinafter referred to as the
"201. Amendment Act" ) and a new Section is "inserted" in its place. 34 The Apex Court having been moved for further directions in the wake of the above development. The Apex Court has made the following Order dated 24.3.2015 :- “The validity of Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1977 has been struck down by the High Court by the impugned order dated 8th September, 2006 of the High Court. By interim order dated 2nd April, 2007 passed in the Civil Appeal No.5924 of 2008 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.5398 of 2007), operation of the order of the High Court has been stayed. The effect of the interim order dated 2nd April, 2007 is that the aforesaid Act of 1997 continues to be in force. In the meantime, the aforesaid Act of 1997 has been amended and we are told that the validity of the said amendment is pending consideration in the Writ Petition (s) before the High Court. In the circumstances, we defer the hearing of these appeals until decision of the Karnataka High Court is rendered in the Writ Petition (s) challenging the validity of the amendment to the aforesaid Act of 1997. We request the Karnataka High Court to expedite the hearing of the Writ Petition(s) and conclude the same as early as possible and let this Court have the benefit of its views in the matter. Let this order be brought to the notice of the Karnataka High Court by the respective parties.” 35 4. At the hearing of these petitions, when it was pointed out by the learned Senior Advocate, Shri M.N.Rao appearing for the State - that Section 25 of the Principal Act as amended by the 2011 Amendment Act was no longer on the statute book, an application was filed in the petition in WP64805- 868 of 2011, seeking to include an additional prayer specifically challenging Act 12/2012 on the same grounds on which the 2011 Amendment Act is challenged, as follows :
"To declare and strike down Karnataka Act no.12/2012 also which professes to further amend a still born and void Karnataka Act no.33/2001, as void, inoperative and unenforceable."
5. The learned Senior Advocate, Shri Subramanya Jois, appearing for the learned counsel for the petitioners would contend that the Apex Court in the case of Shri Swamiji of Admar Math, supra, had indicated that Section 119 of the SR Act was intended to serve a temporary purpose. In that, it was to enable the new units to consider the special circumstances on the diverse 36 units before launching upon a process of adaptation of laws so as to make them reasonably uniform having regard to the special needs of the various regions. And that - Acts, Rules and Regulations whose constitutional validity is upheld and could be upheld only on the ground that no violation, per se, of Article 14 is involved in the application of different laws to different components of a State, if the area to which unequal laws are applied has become a part of the State as a result of the States Re- organisation, it cannot continue to apply to such area, indefinitely. Further, that inequality was writ large on the face of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1951, in its application to the District of South Kanara and "perilously near the periphery of unconstitutionality", that the Apex court had restrained itself from declaring the law as inapplicable to the said region, in the hope that the State Government would act promptly and move an appropriate legislation, possibly with in a year from the date of pronouncement of its judgment, namely, 27.8.1979. 37 It is contended, that lamentably the State Legislature has only embarked on further confounding the situation as is evident from the above sequence of events. It is pointed out by Shri Jois that in the Civil Appeals before the Apex Court, by the State, challenging the judgment of a division bench of this court in the case of Shri Sahasra Lingeshwara temple v. State of Karnataka, 2007(1) Kar.LJ1 wherein there was an interim order of stay, dated 2.4.2007, it was the fervent plea of the State to the following effect : “ It is submitted that, considering the grievance urged by the respondents petitioners the State is proposing to make necessary amendment to the Act to include under the purview of the Act and Mutts, the Temples attached to Mutts, denomination temples and to include the Religious and Charitable Institutions of Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs under the purview of the Act. Hence, on this ground also the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka required to be reversed by recording the submissions of the State to carry out necessary amendments to the Act.” 38 It is contended that it has been held in Sahasra Lingeshwara's case that the legislation in its entirety was struck down. But the State was proceeding on a mistaken impression that the interim order of the Apex Court dated 2.4.2007, as having revived the Karnataka Act no.33/2001, enabling it to "amend" the said enactment vide the 2011 Amendment Act. The same is under challenge in these petitions on grounds and contentions fully covered in their favour by the pronouncement rendered, albeit in the context of Karnataka Act No.33/2001, in Sahasra Lingeshwara's case. Attention is drawn to the "Statement of Objects and Reasons" preceding the 2011 Amendment Act, to contend that the same illegalities, discrimination and unconstitutionality, graphically elucidated in Sahasra Lingeshwara's case have been contumaciously reintroduced. As for instance, keeping out of the purview of the legislation maths and temples attached to maths, having been found fault with in Sahasra Lingeshwara; And further, the Report of the Committee headed by Justice Rama Jois 39 also having concluded that such an exclusion is violative of Articles 14,25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, the State has proceeded to literally overturn the verdict of this Court. It is urged that the Amending Act of 2012 only seeks to reintroduce the very same unconstitutional provisions - with cosmetic changes - and is therefore a repeated affront to this Court. It is emphasized that neither the Amending Act of 2011 nor the Amending Act of 2012 claim to be in the nature of validating legislation, but are clearly Acts amending and further amending the Principal Act, which, at best, is in suspended animation by virtue of the interim order of stay granted by the Apex Court. Shri Jois would thus contend that Karnataka Act No.33/2001 having been struck down as being unconstitutional, the purported amendments thereto do not constitute either a validation or a fresh enactment, particularly because far from addressing and removing the anomalies pointed out by this court in Sahasra Lingeshwara’s case, the same have been reintroduced 40 arbitrarily, contumaciously, and for the reasons mentioned in the respective Statements of Objects and Reasons, published for introducing the respective Bills. The same being impermissible in law, as laid down by the Supreme Court, inter alia in the case of Sri Prithvi Cotton Mills Limited vs. Broach Borough Municipality and others, AIR1970SC192 While the legislature has competence under the Constitution to pass a law and also to pass a validating law. A validation must necessarily remove the defect which the courts had found in the “existing law”, and adequate provisions for validating the existing law should be made. The said ruling having been followed in several later rulings of the apex court and in particular in the case of State of Tamilnadu vs. State of Kerala, AIR2014SC2407 in which it has been laid down that “in exercising legislative power, the legislature, by mere declaration, without anything more, cannot directly over- rule, revise or overwrite a judicial decision, but it can render a judicial decision by enacting valid law on the topic within its legislative field fundamentally altering or changing its character 41 retrospectively. The changes or altered condition are such that the previous decision would not have been rendered by the court if those conditions had existed at the time of declaring the law as invalid….. The consistent thread that runs through all the decisions of this Court is that the legislature cannot directly overrule the decision or make a direction as not binding on it, but has power to make the decision ineffective by removing the base on which the decision was rendered; consistent with the law of the constitution, and the legislature must have the competence to do the same.” In Paragraph 79 of the said decision, quoting Thomas Cooley as noticed by Scelia J, in the case of Paul Tetal vs. Spend Thrift Farm incorporated (1995)514 US211 the Supreme Court has stated thus: “If the legislature cannot indirectly control the action of the courts by requiring them a construction of the law according to its own views, it is very plain that it cannot do so directly by setting aside their judgments, compelling to grant new trials ordering the discharge of offenders or directing what particular steps shall be taken in the progress of a 42 judicial inquiry …. Having achieved finality, however, a judicial decision becomes the last word of the judicial department with regard to a particular case or controversy and congress may not declare by retroactive legislation that the law applicable to that very case was something other than what the court said it was.” It is contended that Paragraphs 82,84,85,96 in particular are quite apt and relevant in the context and fully support the above contention of the petitioners. It is emphasized that the interim order staying the judgment in Sahasra Lingeshwara’s case cannot and has not revived the Karnataka Act No.33/2001 nor can the effect of the said order be a revival or a restoration of a void legislation. Reliance, for this proposition, is placed by the petitioners, inter alia, on the following rulings: (i) Bhram Kurshid Pesikaka vs. The State of Bombay, AIR1955SC123 (ii) Saghir Ahmed vs. State of U.P., AIR1954SC72843 (iii) Deepchand vs. The State of UP and others, AIR1959SC648 (iv) Mahendralal Jaini vs. The State of U.P. and others, AIR1963SC1019 (v) P.L.Mehra vs. D.R.Khanna and others, AIR1971Delhi Page 1, (vi) M/s Sree Chamundi Mopeds Limited vs. Church of South India Trust Association, Madras, AIR1992SC1439(vii) Rudragowda vs. Angadi Chikanna, 1972(1) Mys.LJ310 The contention of the respondents that the impugned enactments have been made in exercise of the State Legislative power is untenable. Deepchand’s case supra is a direct answer. The further contention of the State that the stay of the judgment has given rebirth to or has brought back the still-born Karnataka Act No.33/2001 is equally untenable, not only for the reasons stated supra but also for the reason that the stay order does 44 not at all reflect a reasoned order, which is a necessity, according to Shri Jois. Reliance in this regard is placed on Smt.Swaranlatha Ghosh vs. Harindra Kumar Banerjee, AIR1969SC1167 Ravi Yashwanth Boir vs. The District Collector, Raigad, 2012(4) SCC407. The contention that the order dated 10.10.2011 holding IA No.17 filed by the State as redundant, would lead to an inference that the amendment holds the field or that Karnataka No.33/2001 would revive is also equally untenable for it is not the ratio decidendi nor even obiter dicta. It is not either a declaration of law or a precedent. In this regard, reliance is placed on Oriental Insurance Company Limited vs. Rajkumari, 2007(12) SCC768 Padmasunder Rao vs. State of Tamilnadu, 2002(3) SCC533 Punjab National Bank vs. R.L.Vaid, 2004(7) SCC698 It is contended that the contentions of the respondents regarding the absence of pleadings is untenable. It is emphasized that the pleadings of the petitioners are clear and specific. It is not the length of the petition, but the substance thereof which would 45 be relevant in the context. There is nothing wanting in the same. Rulings which support their contentions, the backdrop of the case and the chronology of events preceding the filing of the writ petitions have all been candidly and specifically pleaded in the petition. To pick holes in it, would be not only untenable, but also unreasonable for the State which has not even filed any pleading or statement of objections opposing the petitions, but has sought to raise several contentions at the hearing which are not founded on the pleadings. As regards the formal amendments sought by the petitioners, it had been specifically stated in the application filed in that regard that the necessity to file the said application arose only in view of the hyper-technical contention raised at the bar, in the arguments of the respondents, and that on the very grounds on which Karnataka Act No.27/2011 would commend being declared void, Karnataka Act No.12/2012 would also meet the same fate. Further that the petitioners have relied upon a relatively recent ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Rameshkumar Agarwal 46 vs. Rajmala Exports Private Limited and others, 2012(5) SCC337 paragraphs 19 to 21 thereof, in particular, supporting the case of the petitioners that the formal amendment sought is bona fide, and legitimate. Particularly to avoid a multiplicity of litigation. It is stated that the respondents have not come up with any statement of objections for the last three years having contended that Karnataka Act No.12/2012, which has been enacted later in point of time is not specifically challenged, have filed their objections to the amendment, however not attributing, any malice to the petitioners in seeking the amendment. The impugned enactments being void, and their invalidity and unconstitutionality can conveniently be declared so for the weighty reasons contained in the well-considered ruling in Sahasra Lingeshwara’s case.
6. Shri M. N. Rao, on the other hand, would point out that except the writ petitions in WP655392011, the entire batch of Writ Petitions, in WP64805868/2011, WP721572012 and 47 WP8079680822/2013 and WP646482011 are identical in nature and prayers made are also identical. The petitioners in all the writ petitions are Public Religious Charitable Trusts registered under the erstwhile Bombay Trusts Act, 1950, which was repealed by the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act 1997 (Hereafter referred to as ‘Act No.33 of 2001’, ). The prayers in the three Writ Petitions are identical. Insofar as the writ petition is WP65539of 2011 is concerned, the additional prayer is for quashing of the order passed by the Commissioner, Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments on 4.7.2012 appointing an administrator in respect of the petitioner - trust. In so far as the additional prayer in writ petition in WP655392011 is concerned, the same is governed by the orders passed on 23.9.2015 by this court in WP70822824/2012. The following are the identical prayers in WP84805 868/2011, WP721572012 and WP8079680822/2013 and WP656482011:- 48 a) To declare that the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act 2011 (Karnataka Act No.27 of 2011) as discriminatory, violative of Constitutional rights, unconstitutional and strike down the same in its entirety; b) Alternatively, to declare that Hindus as a religious denomination within the meaning of Article 26 of Constitution of India and accordingly to declare that Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (amendment) Act 2011 (Karnataka Act 27 of 2011) and Rules 2002, can have no application to Hindus and their right to establish, manage and administer their own Religious and charitable Institutions; c) To issue directions to the State Government to enact a legislation on the lines of Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950 with respect to Hindu Religious and Charitable Institutions. (i) It is contended that as regards the prayer for declaration of Hindus as a religious denomination is concerned, it deserves to be dismissed in view of the Constitution Bench 49 judgment of the Supreme Court in Shastri Yagnapurushasji and others v. Muldas (AIR1966SC1119, in which it was held that Hinduism is a religion. (vide paras 26,27, 32). There are several denominations within the fold of the Hindu religion and the same is stated authoritatively by the 7 judge bench of the Supreme Court in Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Shri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar AIR1954SC282(Shirur Matt case – para
15) As Hindus are not a religious denomination the consequential prayer in B above does not arise. (ii) The prayer C is totally misconceived. There cannot be a direction to the State Government to enact a legislation similar to the Bombay Public Trusts Act in respect of Hindu Religious and Charitable Institutions. The legal principle in this regard is well settled. In Supreme Court Employees Welfare Association v. Union of India and another (1989) 4 SCC187 wherein it was held that Courts cannot direct government to make law. 50 (iii) The prayer A relates to challenge to the constitutionality of Karnataka Act 27/2011 (hereinafter referred to as 2011 Amendment Act). Although the 2011 Amendment Act in toto was challenged, the submissions made on behalf of the petitioners by Shri Jois, Senior Advocate centred around Section 25 of the principal Act (Act No.33/2001). This Section 25 in the principal Act has undergone amendments twice. Section 25 as inserted in the principal Act with the amendments brought about by the 2011 amendment Act was “omitted” from the statute book by Karnataka Act No.13/2012 by which a new section was “inserted” vide Section 12 of Act No.13/2012. When it was pointed out to the Court that Section 25 of the principal Act as amended by the 2011Amendment Act is no longer on the statute book, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners had, on 13.9.2015, filed an application in W.P.No.64805-868 praying for raising an additional prayer specifically challenging Act 12/2012 on the same grounds on which the 2011 Amendment Act is 51 challenged in the batch of Writ Petitions. The specific prayer sought is:- “To declare and strike down Karnataka Act No.12/2012 also which professes to further amend a still born and void Karnataka Act No.33/2001 as void in operative and unenforceable.” It is contended that the application does not contain any specific pleadings in regard to the prayer made. Hence, the prayer is utterly untenable. The reasons are:- a) It proceeds on the wrong and untested assumption that Act 12/2012 “professes to amend a still born and void” principal Act i.e. Act 33/2001 and hence Act No.12/2012 is also inoperative and unenforceable. b) The principal Act 33/2001 is under appeal in the Supreme Court and an order of stay has been granted by the Supreme Court on 2.4.2007. The Supreme Court also held in its order dated 24.3.2015 that the Act will be in force (till the disposal of the appeal). When the premise on which the additional prayer 52 is based itself has no foundation, the prayer becomes unsustainable. c) There are absolutely no pleadings as to why and on what grounds the Act 12/2012 is unconstitutional. The grounds on which the 2011 amendment Act has been challenged so far as Section 25 is concerned are of no avail in deciding the validity of Act 12/2012. d) Section 25 of the principal Act as inserted by Act No.12/2012 in certain respects is different from what was enacted by the 2011 Amendment Act, especially addition of clause (d) in sub-Section 2 excluding office bearers of political parties from temple management committees, thus totally obliterating the basis for the allegation of politicization of Hindu religious institutions. It is further contended that the amendment application is filed only in W.P.No.64805-868/2011. In the other connected Writ Petitions i.e. W.P.No.65539, W.P.Nos.72157/12 and 80796- 80822/13 and W.P.No.65648/2011, there are no applications seeking permission to incorporate an additional prayer. 53 With reference to the pleading in the writ petitions that the Amendment Act of 2011 takes away the jurisdiction and quasi judicial powers of authorities such as the Charity Commissioner and other posts held be judicial officers under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950, and that those powers have been conferred on Executive Officers - untrained in law to decide complicated questions of law and therefore the independence of the judiciary has been affected, Shri Rao would contend that that the Bombay Public Trusts Act was repealed by Section 78 of Act No.33/2001. The petitioners have no semblance of a legal right to make a prayer of this nature without focussing on any legal principle on the basis of which such a pleading could be made. No facts are stated, and no instances where the authorities under the principal Act 2001 have failed to decide the alleged “complicated questions of law”. How the independence of judiciary is affected, the pleadings are silent. It is submitted that this grievance is purely imaginary, unrelated to the realities. 54 It is pointed out that in so far as the contention that the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India have been taken away by the constitution of the Rajya and Zilla Dharmik Parishads and that their constitution amounts to politicisation of the Hindu Religious Institutions etc., that the pleadings are vague and it is not specified as to how such rights , qua the petitioners, have been violated. In so far as the binding nature of the decision in Shri Sahasra Lingeshwara 's case is concerned, it is contended by Shri Rao that The judgment of the division bench dated 8.9.2006 is in appeal before the Supreme Court. The present question raised relating to discrimination is one of the points which will arise for adjudication or resolution before the Supreme Court. That the alleged ground of discrimination has no legal foundation as maths are distinct and different from temples. The two belong to different categories and the classification differentiating the two does not suffer from any legal infirmity. Attention is drawn to Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Shri 55 Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar AIR1954SC282(paras
15) and Vishwothama Thritha v. State of Mysore AIR1966SC1882(para 21 and 22), in this regard. In State of Gujarat v. Ambica Mills (1974) 4 SCC656 the Constitution Bench explained the concept of reasonable classification (reference is drawn to paras 54 and 60,
61) Another Constitution Bench in Shakawat Ali v. State of Orissa, AIR1955SC166in para 10 held as follows:- “The simple answer to this contention is that legislation enacted for the achievement of a particular object or purpose need not be all embracing. It is for the Legislature to determine what categories it would embrace within the scope of legislation and merely because certain categories which would stand on the same footing as those which are covered by the legislation are left out would not render legislation which has been enacted in any manner discriminatory and violative of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.” Further, the denominational temples have certain other additional rights which they enjoy in contradistinction to the rights and privileges of public temples. In this regard reference is made 56 to Venkataramana Devaru v. State of Mysore AIR1958SC255(paras 24 and 32). As regards the contention that the impugned legislation is in breach of the dictum of the Apex Court in Admar Mutt case, where the need for a uniform legislation was emphasized. Attention is drawn to the following passage therein : “A comprehensive legislation which will apply to all temples and Mutts in Karnataka, which are equally situated in the context of the levy of fee, may perhaps afford a satisfactory solution to the problem. This, however, is a tentative view-point because we have not investigated whether the Madras Act of 1951, particularly Section 76(1) thereof, is a piece of hostile legislation of the kind that would involve the violation of Article 14. Facts in regard thereto may have to be explored, if and when occasion arises.” And it is contended that a “tentative viewpoint” which is not the outcome of any investigation from the highest court cannot be approximated to a direction or a mandamus giving rise to a valid cause of action. The only question before the Supreme 57 Court was whether the continued application of the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act to South Kanara was violative of Article 14. The Supreme Court infact dismissed the appeal of the petitioners. In regard to the primary contention of the petitioners that when the Principal Act was struck down by a Division Bench of this court the Act is dead, void ab initio , and that the order of stay granted by the Apex Court also cannot breathe life into it, is concerned , it is pointed out that the The Supreme Court itself has said in its order dated 24.3.2015 that the consequence of the stay is that the “Act will be in force”, hence there is no merit in the present contention. What is the effect of interim stay granted by the Supreme Court cannot be subject matter of issue before this Court, when the Supreme Court itself has said that the Act will be in force. Even if the Supreme Court had not observed that the Act will be in force because of the stay the decisions rendered by the Supreme Court clearly point out the same. 58 In the case of Indira Nehru Gandhi vs. Raj Narain and another , 1975 Supp SCC1the Supreme Court has held: “The legal effect of that stay order was that the trial court’s order……………………., “shall be deemed never to have taken effect”… It did not matter if the stay order, out of deference for existing precedents, had been framed in the form of a “conditioned” stay that is to say, a stay in law and effect with certain conditions annexed.” “The operation of the judgment of the trial Court and the consequential orders are stayed only on “sufficient cause” shown on the facts of that case.” Further in the judgment of Indira Nehru Gandhi (Smt.) vs. Raj Narain 1975 SCC (2) 159 rendered by Justice Krishna Iyer, it was held: “the legal effect of an order of this Court suspending the application of the judgment and order of the High Court is that by sheer force of the first limb of this court’s stay order, the judgment and order of the High Court is nullified for the once i.e., till the appeal is disposed of…… There is a plenary eclipse of the High Court’s judgment and order during the pendency of the appeal.” 59 As regards the contention that the Apex Court having vacated the order of Stay, in so far as Section 25 of Act No.33 of 2001, which was struck down by the Division Bench of this court, it is contended that the Amendment Act of 2012 cannot be characterized as a colourable legislation and that The legislature had undoubted power to legislate by virtue of Entry 28 of List III of Schedule 7 to the Constitution of India. When the Act is within the legislative competence, no question of colorable exercise of legislative power will arise. (Sri Ram Ram Narain Medhi vs. The State of Bombay AIR1959SC459para 45). It is also well settled that no motives could be attributed to the legislature. The question as to bona fides or motives will not arise in judging the constitutionality of enactments. (K.C.Gajapati Narayan Deo and others vs. The State of Orissa, AIR1953SC375. Therefore, it is contended that the writ petitions deserve to be dismissed as the questions of the law raised are unsustainable and the pleadings are vague and bereft of particulars. And no 60 religious practice was claimed to have been affected adversely. In fact no mention of the religious practice is found in the writ petitions. Not even an optional or let alone essential religious practice is pleaded in the writ petition. The petitioners have no manner of right to seek adjudication of constitutional questions in vacuum.
7. In the light of the above rival contentions the points that arise for consideration are : i) Whether the State Legislature has merely amended and further amended the provisions of Act No.33 of 2001, by virtue of the 2011 Amendment Act and the 2012 Amendment Act, only to re- introduce provisions of the said Act that are held to be ultra vires , Articles 14, 25 & 26 of the Constitution of India - by a Division Bench of this court. ?. ii) Whether the amended provisions by virtue of the 2011 Amendment Act and the 2012 Amendment Act, suffer from the same anomalies and unconstitutionalities which were found in the 61 Principal Act that was struck down on that count , in Shri Sahasra Lingeshwara.?. iii) Whether the legislative power of the State under Entry 28 of List III of Schedule VII, to the Constitution of India, would enable the State to amend Act No.33 of 2001, repeatedly, even during the pendency of the appeal before the Apex Court, against the verdict of the Division Bench of this court in Shri Sahasra Lingeshwara Temple case.?. iv) Whether Section 25 of the Principal Act was available on the statute book to be subjected to amendment , when the Apex Court had specifically vacated the Order of Stay in respect of the same. ?. To consider the first and second points for consideration as framed above, it would be necessary to briefly take stock of the findings on which the decision in Sahasra Lingeshwara Temple case was rendered. 62 A batch of writ petitions were filed by Hindu temples, Managing Trustees in the management of temples, archaks and others, from various parts of Karnataka State, questioning the constitutional validity of the several provisions of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 ( Act No.33 of 2001). A learned single judge of this court having heard the matters on merits had, by an order dated 9.9.2005, held that the Act was constitutionally valid. The Order of the learned single judge was carried in appeal before a Division Bench of this court. The Division Bench on having heard extensive arguments had framed the following points for its consideration : “After hearing, we are of the view that the following points require our consideration: (1) Object/history of the Act; (2) Scheme of the Act (3) Constitutional validity of the Act with Reference to Articles 14,25, and 26. (4) Conclusions (5) Relief.” 63 The Object of the Act, according to the Bench was two fold - i) to make better provision for the management of Hindu Religious Institutions; and ii) to have a uniform law, in the light of a long standing public demand, to provide for regulation of all Charitable Endowments and Hindu Religious Institutions in the State of Karnataka. The Scheme of the Act was apparent on a plain reading of the same. It however, was evident that it did not apply to all Hindu religious institutions. It was limited in its application to particular religious institutions. As regards the Constitutional validity of the Act with reference to Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, was concerned, the contention as regards the provisions of the Act being discriminatory and arbitrary in the matter of application of the Act is concerned, essentially the exclusion of maths etcetera, in terms of Section 1(4) and the exclusion of Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs in terms of Section 2(16) being in violation of Article 14 of 64 the Constitution of India- the point was examined with reference to the following cases : (1) Ram Krishna Dalmia and others vs. S.R.Tendolkar and others, AIR1958SC538 (2) Shri Swamiji of Shri Admar Mutt vs. Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department and others, AIR1980SC1 (3) Dr.M.Ismail Faruqui and others vs. Union of India, AIR1995SC605(4) Shastri Yagnapurushdasji and others vs. Muldas Bhundardas Vaishya and another, AIR1966SC1119 (5) Dr.Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo v. Prabhakar Kashinath Kunte , AIR1966SC1113 (6) Pannalal Bansilal vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR1996SC1023 (7) Bal Patil and another vs. Union of India, AIR2005SC3172 and 65 (8) M.P.Gopalakrishnan Nair vs. State of Kerala, AIR2005SC3053 The contention of the writ petitioners was accepted, in the circumstance that the exclusion of maths, as being in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. That the legislation was apparently not uniform in its application. It was also found that the Act did not apply to Hindu religious institutions or Charitable endowments - founded and managed by Hindu religious denominations. It was held that Hindu religious denomination temples were no different from other Hindu temples. The judgments in Mukundaraya Shenoy v. State of Mysore, AIR1960Mys.18 and K.Eranna v. Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, 1970(1) Mys.LJ170(DB), were cited with approval, to hold that the inapplicability of the Act to the Hindu Religious institutions run by Hindu religious denominations, as being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution 66 of India. And that the State had failed in its duty to justify such exclusion. As regards the definition of a 'Hindu' , contained in Section 2(16) of the Act, not to include a Buddhist, Jain or a Sikh, it was held, while drawing reference to Explanation II appended to sub- clause (b) of Clause (2) of Article 25 of the Constitution and while distinguishing the judgments in Mahant Moti Das v. SP Sahi, AIR1959SC942 Tilkayat Shri Govindlalji Maharaj v. State of Rajasthan, AIR1963SC1638 State of Gujurat v. Shri Ambica Mills Limited, AIR1974SC1300 The Division Bench disagreed with the learned single judge that on the principle of limits of judicial review, discrimination in a given circumstance could not be addressed with reference to Article 14 of the Constitution of India. As regards the contentions regarding violation of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India is concerned - focus was on the following provisions of the Act :
67. “Sections 3 to 8 in Chapter II deals with the powers of the Commissioner. Chapter III deals with the appointment of Archakas and temple servants, emoluments, salary etc. Common Pool Fund is created in terms of Chapter IV. Advisory Committee is constituted in terms of Chapter V. Notifying institutions are referred in Chapter VII and declared institutions are suggested in Chapter VIII. Powers of the Commissioner are shown in Chapter IX.” It was found that the law was covered against the archaks in the case of A.S. Narayana Deekshitulu v. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR1996SC1765 Though the said judgment had been referred to a larger bench in a later judgment in A. Ramaswamy Dikshitulu v. Government of Andhra Pradesh, (2004 ) 4 SCC661 In so far as the challenge to the 'Common Pool Fund', 'the Advisory Committee' and 'Declared institutions'- was concerned, the Division Bench had considered the law laid down by the Apex Court with regard to the interpretation of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India in the following decisions : (1) Bal Patil and another vs. Union of India, AIR2005SC3172 68 (2) Dr.Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo v. Prabhakar Kashinath Kunte, AIR1966SC1113 (3) Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Madras and others vs. late R.Sridharan by legal representatives, (1976)4 SCC489 (4) Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, Madras vs. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt, AIR1954SC282 (5) Ratilal Panachand Gandhi vs. State of Bombay, AIR1954SC388 (6) Sri Venkataramana Devaru vs. State of Mysore, AIR1958SC255(7) Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi and others vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and others, (1997)4 SCC606 (8) N.Adithayan vs. Travancore Devaswom Board and others, AIR2002SC3538(9) A.Ramaswamy Dikshitulu v. Government of Andhra Pradesh, (2004 ) 4 SCC661 69 It was found with reference to the above that the founding fathers of the Constitution had chosen to provide religious rights in terms of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India. The said rights were guaranteed to a citizen of India. The right is subject to Article 26, which provides for a right to administer a religious place. In the light of the above, Chapter III was held not to be violative of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India. It was also found that in terms of Section 17 of Chapter IV, a Common Pool Fund is created. And that out of contributions made by the notified institutions at 5% of their gross annual income after deduction of the donations made as contribution to the temple property and amount received for specified services or charges and the grant received from the State Government. That the temples receive donations by way of kanike, harike, hundi etc., depending on the name and fame of the temple, in addition to the religious practices available at the temple. Hence it was held 70 that the gross annual income taken for the purposes calculating the percentage was arbitrary. That the Common Pool Fund could only be the surplus left over and not on the gross income. That if 5% of the gross annual turnover is taken away, it would not be possible to manage the temple and meet the expenses involved. That even the administration of the Fund was in the hands of a Commissioner. It is held that though laudable objects are provided in the matter of administration of the Common Pool Fund, but a careful reading of certain purposes would show that the said purpose seemed to be arbitrary in character. It is in this context, the division bench has held thus:- “It cannot be forgotten that money is taken out of the Hindu temple. Money is poured by Hindus. It may be a laudable object to provide to a poor institution of other religions. But it cannot be only from the funds of Hindu temple alone. The State has to provide such assistance as is necessary to such institutions but there can be no compulsion only from Hindu temple to provide assistance to such institutions. It can be voluntary by Hindu temples, but it cannot be compulsory, prima facie in terms of the Act. In Section 19(1)(h) rightly, the Government has chosen to say that the administration can be for 71 establishment and maintenance of Hindu children. But those words are missing in Section 19(1)(i) and (j). This Court is not for a moment suggesting that poor institutions of other religions are not to be helped but who is to help is the question and how to help those institutions. After all, devotees of Hindu temples provide kanike or money to that Hindu temple for temple purposes and it cannot be spent for other non-Hindu causes without any relevance to the Hindus. Though Hindu religion does not prohibit such contribution prima facie, but still it is desirable that such amount if spent only for Hindu Institutions. As otherwise, there is every likelihood of the Hindu institutions asking for assistance/ maintenance from other religious institutions which ultimately may result in unwanted religious quarrels. Further as regards the “Advisory Committees”, it was opined thus: “62. Insofar as Advisory Committee is concerned, it is seen that it is headed by a Minister. The Committee is only vested as advisory power in terms of Section 22 but however what cannot be forgotten is that there is every likelihood of political temple advise for political purposes in the event of the Minister being a Chairman of the Advisory Committee. Therefore, though the Chairmanship at the hands of the Minister does not by itself be considered to be un constitutional or illegal but still it would be a 72 desirable thing to have head of non-political persons to avoid politics in religious institutions. “ As regards the management of “notified Institutions” being taken over by the State, it was opined thus:- “63. Lot of arguments are advanced with regard to notified institutions. At this stage, we must notice that this Act is enacted to have a uniform law for regulation of Hindu Religious Institutions. Government certainly has the power in terms of the Constitution to enact a law for better temple administration. In fact, the preamble to the Act itself would say that this Act is to make better provision for the management and administration of Hindu Religious Institution. There are several Muzrai temples which, as on today are rendering fairly good service. Temples and mutts, apart from providing religious services are also providing several welfare measures including food, shelter and education. If such temples are already better managed/administered, then why should such institutions are to be notified for the purpose of having a Committee in terms of the Act. Merely providing some assistance by Government to them should not be understood as a right over the temple for the purpose of administration in terms of Article 25 of the Constitution.
64. Article 26(b) provides for a law with regard to regulating or restricting any political and other secular 73 activities and providing for social welfare etc. But taking over and providing administration in respect of the Government temples, despite their better management certainly would be in violation of not only Article 14 but also under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India. The State Government would be well advised to take over such temple only in the event of an adverse report after an opportunity against that temple. Taking all temples and administering them without any adverse order, as rightly argued would be hit by Article 26 of the Constitution of India.
65. But however, the power to take over the administration in the vent of mal-administration financial/mismanagement certainly cannot be termed as violation of Article 26(b) of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the Government cannot in the guise of better administration take over even the best administered temple for the purpose of managing the temple without justification. That would be certainly, as rightly argued, in violation of article 26(b) of the Constitution. Therefore, application of Section 23 in all temples without adverse report in our view, would be in violation of Article 26(b) of the Constitution of India.” 74 As regards the constitution of the Committee of Management and exclusion of members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, it was held as follows:- “66. The Constitution of the Committee of management is provided under Section 25 of the Act. The Committee consists of pradana archak or archak. At least one member among Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. Of the other, at least five of whom, two are women from among the persons in the vicinity of the temple. The 2nd proviso to Section 25(3) would show that it would not apply to Hindu Religious denomination. We have in the earlier part of our judgment shown that this Court has made no distinction between Hindu denomination and Hindus and hence exclusion of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe from the Committee of management insofar as Hindu Religious denomination is concerned would be again hit by Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Moreover, the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe are to be a part of the Committee in the larger interest of Hindu Community. Their exclusion in the case of Hindu Religious denomination temples in our opinion would be an arbitrary, unjustifiable treatment thereby violating Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
67. Similarly, Section 25(4) provides for qualification to be a member of the Committee. Section 25(4)(a) would say that a member should have faith in 75 God. It cannot be forgotten that he has to manage temples and that therefore he should have faith in Hindu religion as well. Similarly, Section 25(4)(d) provides for membership only to those who have donated or contributed for temple development. Why should a poor devotee be excluded us ununderstandable. Similarly if a lawyer appears for or against an institution, he is disqualified. Therefore, from a reading of this section, what is clear to us is that at least some of the classes would appear to be arbitrary.” The Division Bench had concluded thus : “69. We have repeatedly ruled that Hindu religion is one of the oldest religions available in India. It has the backing of centuries old scriptures, belief etc. Those believes, rituals, practices etc., are to be protected, unless the same is totally opposed to any part of the Constitution of India. Therefore, while on one hand, the religious rights in terms of article 26 are to be protected and on the other hand, maladministration, financial irregularities by any religious institution has to be taken serious note of in the larger interest of temple discipline itself. The State has to draw a balance in maintaining temple discipline/temple administration in terms of the Constitution of India. The State unfortunately in the case on hand in the guise of having a uniform law has been chosen to divide the religion 76 itself in terms of our earlier discussion. Since the very Act is held to be discriminatory in its application, it is not possible to severe other parts and hence the entire Act has to be struck down as unconstitutional and we do so in the case on hand. We also deem it proper to observe that the intention of the Legislature seems to be a uniform law for all Hindu Religious institutions. If that is so, as has been done in Andhra Pradesh in terms of the Supreme Court, the Government would be well-advised to have a religious leaders/matadipathis/religious experts/ social reformer’s and other experts and thereafter proceed to pass a uniform law in terms of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Shri Swamiji of Shri Admar Mutt’s case. The Government can also think of having different regulatory measures for temples/mutts/Jains etc. depending upon their religious belief etc. and of course, within the four-corners of the Constitution. However, it is for the Legislature to decide the religious reformative law in terms of this policy of uniform law for Hindu religions. We would leave it to the Legislature to take a legislative decision in terms of the Constitution. However, we deem it proper to observe that the Government would be doing a great service to the Hindu society by eliminating all the evil and corrupt practices, if at all prevailing in Hindu Institutions. That would go a long way in Hindu temple reforms.
70. We have already ruled that the Act is hit by Articles 14 and 26 of the Constitution of India. We have 77 further ruled that it is not possible to severe them. Hence, we deem it proper to strike down the entire act and consequently strike down the notification as unconstitutional. However, if any action is taken in terms of the Act prior to the date of the order, the same are protected and this judgment would operate prospectively from the date of this order. “ Keeping in view the above opinion expressed by this court, we may examine the unamended provisions in relation to the amended provisions as brought about by the 2011 and the 2012 Amendment Acts. Reproduced below are the provisions of the Act, which came in for direct consideration by the Division bench of this court in Shri Sahasra Lingeshwara case, in holding the same to be unconstitutional, as found in their unamended form and as amended by the 2011 and 2012 amendments, in column 1,2 and 3, respectively, in a tabular form: as under the Section Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 (Karnataka Act 33 of 2001) Section 1(4) : It shall not apply – (i) to a mutt or a temple attached, thereto; (ii) to any Hindu Religious Institution Charitable Endowment founded, organized run or managed by Hindu Religious Denomination. or 2 clause Section (16): “Hindu” does not include a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh; 78 Section as amended vide Section as amended vide Act No.27/2011 Act No.12/2012 Substituted as:- Section 1(4): It shall apply to, all religious institutions or charitable endowments notified under Section 23. Section 53 and Chapter VIII shall apply to all institutions or religious charitable endowments other than those notified under Section 23: Provided that it shall not apply to a math or temple attached to or managed by math.” Substituted as:- "Section 1(4) It shall not apply to a math or temple attached to or managed by math."
2 (16), clause of or “Hindu together under Section substituted as under:- Religious “(16) a Denomination” means Hindu collection devotees Individuals classed the same name, a Hindu religious section or sub- section or body or a section thereof spiritual fraternity represented by it having a common faith, rituals, observances, ceremonies and mode of worship which distinctive name.” is designated by a or the 79 as for the lawful donations made Section 17: Creation of Common Pool Fund.-. It shall be the Commissioner to create a fund to be called the Common Pool Fund out of.- a) contributions made by the Notified Institutions at five percentum of their gross annual income arrived at after deducting following, namely,- i) contribution to the capital; ii) amounts realized by sale of jewels or other movable or immovable properties belonging to the institution; iii) amounts for specified services or charities where the service or charity is performed. b) Grants received from the State Government. Section 19(1): Administration of Common The Pool Commissioner shall administer the Common Pool Fund subject to the conditions herein stated and the following purposes, namely.- (a) the grant of aid to any other institution which is poor or in needy religious received Fund.- for
1) for for the (a), clause In Section 17 of the principal Act,- word (i) “Commissioner” the words “Rajya Dharmika Parishat” shall be substituted; (ii) the following shall be substituted, namely:- “(a) contributions made by the notified or declared institutions at the following rate:- (1) ten percent of the net income of gross institutions whose annual income exceeds rupees ten lakhs; (2) five percent of the net of income institutions whose gross annual income exceed rupees five lakhs but does not exceed rupees ten lakhs”. respect respect in in for the In section 19 of the principal Act,- (i) in sub-section (1),- (a) word “Commissioner”, the words “Rajya Dharmika Parishat” shall be substituted; 80 tenets the the of circumstances; (b) the grant of aid to any religious purposes connected with the Hindu Religion; (c)the propagation of religious of institution; the establishment and (d) maintenance Veda Patashalas, agama Patashalas and schools for training the archakas, and for the study of ancient scripts and Indian languages for that purpose; (e) the establishment and maintenance of a university or college or other institution having for its object the study of Hindu Religion, Philosophy or Sastras or for imparting instructions in Hindu temple architecture; (f) the establishment and maintenance of educational institutions where instructions in the Hindu religion is also provided; (g) promotion of temple arts and architecture; (h) the establishment and maintenance of orphanages for Hindu children; [(i) the establishment and for clause (i), the following 81 maintenance of asylums for persons suffering from leprosy or other incurable disease; (j) the establishment and maintenance of poor homes for destitute, helpless and physically disabled persons; (k) the establishment and maintenance of Hospitals and Dispensaries for providing facilities to pilgrims; (l)any other charitable or Hindu Religious purpose. Section 20: Constitution of the Advisory Committee.-
1) The State Government shall constitute for the State of Karnataka a Committee to be called Advisory Committee consisting of the following Members, namely.- the be substituted, shall namely:- “(i) payment of terminal benefits to the Archaks and temple servants where there is no sufficient fund at the credit of the institution;” Rajya Dharmika Section 20 of the principal Act, the following shall be substituted, namely:- “20. Parishat.- (1) The State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette constitute the Rajya Dharmika Parishat consisting of the following in the In Section 19 of sub- Principal Act, section (1), after clause (l), the following shall be inserted, namely.— “(m) for establishment and promotion of goshalas by Hindu Religious Institutions or any Hindu Organisation; (n) to meet the objects of the Act”. 82 by a) the Minister in charge of Endowments who shall be the Chairman, ex officio; b) the Commissioner, who shall be Member Secretary ex officio, and c) such number of non-official members not exceeding nine, nominated the State Government, from among the religious leaders drawn from various classes of Hindu thought, both vedic and non- vedic, of whom atleast one each shall be from among the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes and atleast two shall be women.
2) The term of office of the non-official members shall be three years, and other matters relating to the conduct of the affairs the Advisory Committee shall be such as may be prescribed. of the In Section 20 of Principal Act, sub- section (1), in clause (d), for “three years”, the words “four years” shall be substituted. the words in Institutions members, namely:- (a) Minister in Charge of Hindu Religious, Institutions and Charitable Endowments Chairman (b) Secretary to Government in charge of Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable, Endowments - Vice Chairman (c) Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments - Ex-officio Secretary (d) Members to be nominated by Government for a period of three years (i) One Retired District Judge - Member (ii) One Agama scholar - Member (iii) one vedic scholar Member (iv) one person belong to SC or ST - Member (v) one person belonging to backward classes - Member (vi) one woman -Member (vii) two others - Member (2) The members nominated by Government under sub- section (1), except a retired district shall hold office Judge, subject to the pleasure of Government.-. 83 due (3) The member nominated by Government shall be a person who has contributed to the Hindu Religious field but shall not be an office bearer of any political party in any level. the event of any (4) In vacancy death, resignation or otherwise, the Government may appoint a member for the remaining period of the term of such member. (5) The Rajya Dharmika Parishat may, for the purpose of consultation, invite any person having experience and specialized knowledge or expert in any subject to attend its meeting and every such person is entitled to such allowances be prescribed. (6) The Government may delegate any of its powers and functions other than the power to make rules under the provisions of the Act to the Rajya Dharmika Parishat. (7) absence of Chairman, the Vice Chairman shall preside over the meeting of the Rajya Dharmika Parishad. as may to In the 84 In the absence of the members (8) nominated member remaining constitute the Rajya Dharmika Parishat. (9) All the correspondence in respect of or to the Rajya Dharmika Parishat shall be made by or to the Secretary, Rajya Dharmika Parishat including the power to sue or be sued. Section 22 of the Principal Act shall be omitted Section 22: Functions of the Advisory Committee.- It shall be the function of the Advisory Committee.- a) to tender advise to the Committees of Management in case of disputes relating to- i) observance of religious practices; ii) any other matter that may be prescribed; b) to approve proposals for adoption of a Hindu Religious Institution Charitable Endowment, whose annual income is not more than five thousand rupees, by a larger Hindu Religious Institution, Charitable Endowment or Trust; and c) to perform such other or 85 23 be 19 as the The after each Hindu functions State Government may from time to time specify. Section Notified Institutions: State Government shall as soon as may the commencement of this Act in publish by notification respect of revenue district, a list of; (a): all Charitable Institutions and Religious Institutions which on the date of commencement of this Act are in the sole charge of the State Government or for the benefit of which – i) any monthly or annual grant in perpetuity is made from public revenues; or tasdik allowance under ii) of Mysore section and Charitable Religious Inams Abolition Act, 1955 is paid; Section 23(e) All Hindu Religious Institutions registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950, which are in receipt of any monthly or annual grant from public revenues or any amount under the Karnataka Certain Inams (Abolition)Act, 1977; In section 23 of the principal Act,- Clause (a), after the words “State Government” the words “under the of Mysore provisions Religious and Charitable Institutions Act, 1927” shall be inserted; for (ii) following substituted, namely:- “(e) All Hindu Religious Institutions registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950; (ee) All Hindu Religious Institutions which are in the be clause shall (e), 86
1) of with and he Section 24: Controlling The Authorities: Commissioner shall be the Chief Controlling Authority in all matters respect connected notified shall institutions such duties perform and exercise such powers of superintendence and control as the State Government may by rules impose or as the case may be confer on him in respect of all or any class of notified institutions.
2) The Deputy Commissioner shall subject to such terms and conditions be prescribed, be the immediate controlling authority in respect of notified institutions within his jurisdiction.
3) Assistant Commissioner shall subject to the authority of the Deputy Commissioner perform such duties such powers as may be prescribed. as may exercise The and be the shall Parishat receipt of any monthly or from public annual grant revenue or any amount under the Karnataka Certain Inams (Abolition) Act, 1977.” In section 24 of the principal Act, in sub-section (1), for the words “the Commissioner shall be the Chief Controlling Authority”, words “subject to the powers and jurisdiction of the Rajya Dharmika the Commissioner shall be the Chief Controlling Authority” substituted. the After section 24 of principal Act, the following shall be inserted, namely:- 87 to the such cadre of income of Appointment the to be the notified “24A. of Executive Officer and term of office.- (1) The State Government or the Commissioner as the case may be, may appoint any officer to be the Executive Officer to a notified institution or to a group of notified institutions. (2) The Executive Officer appointed institution may be, based on institution. (3) The executive Officer shall hold office for such term as may be fixed by the State Government and he shall exercise such power and perform such duties as may be prescribed. (4) The executive Officer shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. In Section 25 of the principal Act,- (i) for sub-section (1), the following be substituted, namely:- be “(1) shall constituted Rajya Dharmika Parishat or Zilla There shall by 25 Section the Section 25 of the Principal Act shall be omitted and so after following omitted, inserted, shall namely.— “25. Constitution of the be Committee Section 25: Constitution of the of Management – (1) Subject to any general or special order of the State Government there shall be constituted by the prescribed a committee of management authority 88 The procedure to which Committee consisting of nine members in respect of one or more notified institutions and different authorities may be prescribed in respect of different class or classes of notified institutions. (2)(a) The prescribed authority shall while constituting the Committee of Management under sub-section (1) have due regard to the religious denomination the institution or any section thereof belongs. for (b) appointment of members to the of Management, verification of antecedents and other matters shall be such as may be prescribed. (c) No person shall be eligible to be appointed as a member in more than one Committee or Management, at one time. or parishat Dharmika a committee of Management consisting of nine members: Provided that the committee of management in respect of notified institutions belonging to religious denomination be constituted by themselves according to the usage and practice prevailing therein as on the date of commencement of the Karnataka Hindu religious institutions and Charitable endowments Amendment)Act, 2011 and the same shall be recognized the Rajya Dharmika by Parishat Zilla Dharmika Parishat as the case may be: Provided further that every Committee of Management or Pancha Committee or Dharmadarshi Committee or Trustees Non-hereditary constituted appointed under the repealed Acts who were lawfully holding office shall cease to hold office from the date of the commencement the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011.” the of or and of of than shall There Committee Management.— (1) be constituted, in respect of one or more notified institutions by the Rajya Dharmika Parishat, if the gross annual income of the notified institutions exceeds rupees twenty five lakhs the Zilla Dharmika Parishat if the annual income does not exceed rupees twenty five lakhs, a committee of Management consisting of not more nine members from among the devotees and followers of Hindu Religious Institutions and beneficiaries the charitable institutions and consist of,- (i) in the case of a temple the Pradhan Archak or Archak; (ii) at least one among the Scheduled or Scheduled Tribes; (iii) two women; (iv) at least one from among the persons living in the locality where the institution situated: Provided that in case of composite institution members from both Hindu and other religion may be it shall Castes 89 or institution appointed: Provided further that the Committee of Management in respect of notified be constituted according to the usage and practice prevailing therein: Provided also that every committee of Management or Pancha Committee or Dharmadarshi non Committee trustees hereditary constituted or appointed under the repealed Acts who were lawfully holding office shall cease to hold such office from the date of commencement of the Karnataka Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (Second Amendment) Act, 2011. Rajya (2) Dharmika Parishat and Zilla Dharmika Parishat, while constituting the Committee of Management under sub- section (1), shall have due regard religious the denomination to which the institution or any thereof belongs. (b) The procedure for the constitution of Committee section (a) The to 90 (3) The prescribed authority shall constitute the Committee of Management from among the devotees, donors and followers the Hindu Religious Institutions or as the case may be, the endowers and the beneficiaries of the Charitable Endowment in such manner that it consists of – (i) in the case of a temple the Pradhana or Archaka; (ii) atleast one member from among the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes; and Archaka of in sub-section (3),- (a) for the words “prescribed authority”, the words “the Rajya Dharmika Parishat or the Zilla Dharmika Parishat as the case may be” shall be substituted; bearer of Committee for and to become if any, of Management, of verification of other antecedents matter the member shall be done in such manner as may be prescribed; (c) No person shall be eligible a member in more than one Committee of Management at a time; (d) No person, who is an office any political party at any level, shall become a member of the of Management. (3) No person shall be qualified being appointed as member of the Committee of Management of a notified institution unless,- (i) he has faith in God; (ii) he has attained the age of twenty five years; (iii) he possesses good conduct and reputation and commands respect in the locality in which the institution is situated. (4) A person shall be disqualified being appointed or continuing as a member of the for 91 of that that further (iii) of the others, atleast five of whom two are women, from among persons living in the vicinity of the temple: Provided the State Government may relax the condition of clause (iii) in respect any Notified Institution or class of such Institutions, so however that the representation of women members is not affected: Provided the condition of clause (ii) shall not apply to Institutions belonging to Hindu Religious Denominations or sections thereof. (4) No person shall be qualified for being appointed as the Committee of Management of a Notified Institution unless – (a) he has faith in God; (b) he has attained the age of twenty-five years; (c) he possesses good conduct and reputation and commands respect in the locality in which the Institution is situate. (d) he has donated or a member of from among for clause (iii), the following shall be substituted, namely:- “(iii) of the other, two are women and at least one member the persons living in the locality of the temple”. in sub-clause (iii), for the second proviso, the following shall be substituted, namely:- “Provided further that in case of institution composite members from both Hindu and other religion may be appointed”. (iii) in sub-section (4), sub- of or and stands of any Committee Management notified institution,- (i) if he is declared as an undischarged insolvent by a competent court; or (ii) if he is of unsound mind so declared by a competent court of law or if he is a deaf or mute or is suffering from virulent form of leprosy contagious disease; or (iii) if he has an interest direct or indirect in any subsisting lease of any property or of any contract made with, or is in arrears of any kind due by him to such institution; or (iv) if he is appearing as a legal practitioner for or against the institution; or (v) been sentenced by a criminal court offence involving moral turpitude; such sentence not having been reversed offence pardoned; or (vi) if he has at any time acted the interest of the institution; or adverse has for an if he or to 92 for renovation contributed for construction, repairs, or development of any Hindu Religious Institution or Charitable Institution or for the performance of utsavam or any charitable cause in the institution. A person shall be (5) disqualified being appointed or continuing as a member of the Committee of Management of any Notified Institution - (i) is declared as If he undischarged insolvent by a competent Court; or (ii) if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent Court or if he is a deaf or mute or is suffering from leprosy or any virulent or contagious disease; or (iii) if he has an interest, direct or indirect in any subsisting lease of any property or of any contract made with, or any work being done for, the institution, or is in arrears of any kind due by him to such institution; or (iv) if he is appearing as a legal practitioner on behalf of or against the institution; or (v) if he has been sentenced by a Criminal Court for an offence involving moral turpitude, such sentence not having been reversed or offence pardoned; (vi) if he has at any time clause (d) shall be omitted. from liquor emolument or such (vii) if he is an office holder other than Archaka or a servant attached to or a person in receipt of any perquisite institution; or (viii) if he is addicted to intoxication, or drugs; or (ix) if he is not a Hindu, or having been a Hindu has converted to any other religion. (5) If a member of the committee of management is or becomes subject to any disqualification under sub-section (4), he shall automatically cease to be such member. (6) If any question arises whether a member is or has become subject to any disqualification under sub-section (4), the Dharmika Parishat may either suo-moto or on a report made to it and after giving an opportunity, of being heard to the person concerned the question."
decide 93 to any to the conducted adverse interests of the institution; (vii) if he is an office-holder other than Archaka, or a servant attached to or a person in receipt of any emolument or perquisite such institution; or (viii) if he is addicted to intoxication, liquor or drugs; or (ix) if he is not a Hindu; or having been a Hindu has converted other religion. the (6) Committee is, or becomes subject to any disqualification under sub-section (5) he shall automatically ceased to be such member. (7) If any question arises whether a member is or has any become to disqualification under sub- the prescribed section authority may either suo motu or on a report made to it and, after giving an opportunity of being heard the person concerned, that question. If a member of to decide from subject (5) After section 25 of principal Act the following shall be inserted, namely:- “25A. Provision relating to institution managed by Hereditary Trustee.- 94 notified trustees. in such a or the shall of be committee committee institutions the office of (1) No management constituted in respect of the managed exclusively by hereditary The power of management shall vest hereditary trustee. (2) If there is no legal heir to succeed the hereditary trustee, the Rajya Dharmika Zilla Parishat the Dharmika Parishat, as case may be, shall constitute of the management as provided under section 25. (3) When temporary vacancy occurs in the office of a hereditary trustee and if there is a dispute with regard to right of succession to such office and such vacancy cannot be filled up immediately or when a successor is a minor and has no guardian fit and willing to act or there is a dispute regard to as to who is entitled such office, the Rajya Dharmika Parishat may to appoint a fit person the discharge functions of office of hereditary trustee until the disability ceases or another successor succeeds to succeed 95 the to decide certain to such office: Provided that in making any appointment, Rajya Dharmika Parishat shall have due regard to the claims of members of the said family, if any entitled to the succession. 25B. Power of the Deputy Commissioner settle scheme for the administration of Charitable endowments and to other disputes.- (1) When the Deputy Commissioner has reason to believe that in the interest of the proper administration of Charitable endowments or a endowment attached to any notified institution or declared institution, a scheme shall be settled for such endowment or when not less than five persons having interest make an application in writing stating that in the interest of the proper administration of the endowment, a scheme shall be settled for it, the Deputy Commissioner on consultation with the Trustee or of Management or the persons having interest and if, after such is consultation Committee the shall he 96 of The of section for satisfied that is it necessary or desirable to do so, he shall by order, settle a scheme of administration such Charitable endowment or endowment. (2) The scheme settled under this the administration of Charitable endowments may include certain provision for,- (i) constitution of a body for the purpose of assisting in the administration of such Charitable endowments; (ii) the method of selection of members for such committee from the persons having interest in such endowments; (iii) defining the powers and duties of the committee; (3) Deputy Commissioner may determine the the endowment and the list of such properties shall be appended to the scheme as a schedule. Deputy (4) The may at Commissioner consulting anytime trustees or committee by order modify or cancel any scheme in respect of properties after 97 that If the imposed by an endowment which is in force and settled under sub- section (1) or any scheme in force settled or modified by any courts or any earlier enactments: Provided such cancellation or modification of a scheme in force settled or modified earlier shall be made only subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be the Deputy Commissioner. (5) Deputy Commissioner is satisfied that any such scheme referred to in sub-section (1) is inconsistent with the provisions of this Act and rules made thereunder he may, at anytime modify it in such a manner as may be necessary to bring it into conformity the provisions of this Act and rules made there under. (6) Whenever any question arises as to,- (i) whether a particular property is the property of a notified institution or declared institution under the Act; or (ii) whether any property or money is either a religious with 98 or specific by endowment endowment; or (iii) whether any Archak or temple servant holds or held an office in any notified institution declared institution on the basis of a hereditary right; or (iv) whether any person is entitled custom or otherwise to any honour, emolument or perquisite in any religious institution; and what is the existing usage of a notified declared institution; or (v) whether any institution or endowment is wholly or partly of a religious or of secular character and whether any property or money has been given wholly or partly for religious or secular purpose; or (vi) where any property or money has been given for the support of an institution which is partly of a religious and partly of a secular character or the performance of any service or charity connected with such an the performance of a charity which is partly of a religious and partly of a secular character institution or or or 99 of a annual or where any property or money given is appropriated partly to religious and partly to secular purposes, as to what portion of such property or money shall be allocated to religious purpose; or (vii) to accord sanction of dittam and seva list in respect of notified institutions having gross income of rupees one lakh and above but below Rupees ten lakhs; or (viii) any dispute between the servant notified institution and the committee of management.-. the Deputy Commissioner after hearing the parties concerned shall by order decide it. (7) Any person aggrieved by any order passed by the Deputy Commissioner under foregoing any provisions, appeal within one month of the date of receipt of the order to the Commissioner. (8) The Commissioner may after hearing the aggrieved person and other contending parties, pass appropriate order accordance with law.” In section 26 of the principal Act,- shall of the in Section 26: Term of office of the of Committee 100 Section Management and Election of Chairman – (1) Subject to the pleasure of the prescribed authority, members shall hold office for a term of three years unless in the meanwhile the Committee is dissolved or has ceased to function. (2) Where the Committee of is constituted Management under the 25, members shall at the first meeting of the Committee elect a Chairman from among themselves. (3) The State Government may nominate the Executive Officer as exofficio Secretary of of in respect of Management notified or institutions, without voting rights. (4) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) above, where any Charitable Institution or Hindu Religious Institution was, immediately before it is included in the list of Notified Institution under Section 23, managed by the founder of such institution or any member of his family, such in his absence any member of his family shall, unless he is otherwise disqualified under founder and Committee institution the the In Section 26 of Principal Act, sub- section (3), after the words “the State Government”, the words the prescribed authority” shall be inserted. “or in Sub-section (1), for the words "prescribed authority", the words "Rajya Dharmika Parishat or Zilla Dharmika Parishat as the case may be" shall be substituted; (2) for sub-section (4), the following be substituted, namely:- in case of notified “(4) institutions managed by more than one hereditary trustee or founder trustee, the chairman shall be elected in such accordance procedure be prescribed.” as may shall with 101 as may Committee Section 25, be nominated as Chairman of the Committee of Management of such Notified Institution. Section 27: Meeting of the Committee of Management- The of Management shall meet at such intervals and follow such procedure in conducting its meetings, be prescribed. Section 28. Power to dissolve Committee the of Management – (1) the authority shall prescribed have power to dissolve a Committee of Management if after holding an inquiry in accordance with sub-section (2), it is satisfied that the committee has, - (a) failed to discharge the duties the functions in accordance with the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder, or lawful (b) disobeyed any orders the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder by the the State Government or Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner; or (c)committed any malfeasance perform or issued under in section 28 of the principal Act,- Sub-section (1),- for the words "prescribed Authority", the words "Rajya Dharmika Parishat or Zilla Dharmika Parishat as the case may be” shall be substituted; and after the words "committee of Management", the words "including a member or hereditary trustee" shall be inserted; 102 of the to trust or misfeasance or is guilty of breach or misappropriation in respect of the properties of the institution or endowments; Where the prescribed (2) authority proposes take action under sub-section (1) it shall frame the charge against the Chairman and give him an opportunity of meeting such charge or testing the evidence adduced against the charge and of adducing evidence in favour of the Committee; and the order of dissolution shall state every charge framed Committee, against explanation offered by the Committee and the finding on such charge together with the reasons therefor. (3) Pending enquiry under sub-section (2) the prescribed authority may suspend the Committee and appoint an administrator in accordance with Section 29. (4) Any person aggrieved by an order under this section they occur, Sub-section (2),- for the words "prescribed Authority", the words "the Rajya Dharmika Parishat or the Zilla Dharmika Parishat as the case may be" shall be substituted; and after the words "committee" wherever the words "including a member or hereditary trustee" shall be inserted; (3) in sub-section (3),- the words "prescribed for Authority", the words "Rajya Dharmika Parishat or Zilla Dharmika Parishat as the case may be" shall be substituted; and after the words, "committee" the words a member or hereditary trustee" shall be inserted; (4) sub-section (4) shall be omitted. "including 103 is to the may, within thirty days from the date of communication of the order appeal .- (a) to the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal constituted under the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal Act, 1976 (Karnataka Act 10 of 1976), where the prescribed Authority the Commissioner; (b) to the Commissioner, if the order passed is of the Deputy Commissioner; and (c) Deputy Commissioner, if the order is of passed the Assistant Commissioner. (5) The Appellate Authority may after holding an enquiry and so far as possible within six months from the date of appeal pass such order as it deems fit, and such order shall be final. Section 29. Appointment of The Administrator prescribed shall appoint an officer of the State Government as Administrator in place of the Committee of Management or suspended under sub-section (1) or (3) of Section 28 or after the expiry of the term of office of the Committee under Section 26 and till a new Committee of Management is constituted or for a period of six months whichever is dissolved authority – In Section 28 of the Principal Act, sub-section (5) shall be omitted. the the figures “after In Section 29 of Principal Act, after words and the expiry of the term of office of the Committee under Section 26”, the words “or for any other reasons” shall be inserted. In Section 29 of the principal Act,- (a) for the words "prescribed Authority", the words "the Rajya Dharmika Parishat or the Zilla Dharmika Parishat" shall be substituted; and 104 the following proviso (b) shall be inserted at the end, namely:- "Provided that for the reasons to be recorded in writing the Rajya Dharmika Parishat or Zilla Dharmika Parishat, by order extend the said period by any further period, not exceeding six months time. So however, the said period shall not exceed one year in total."
In Section 30 of the principal Act, words for “prescribed authority”, the words “the Rajya Dharmika Parishat or the Zilla Dharmika Parishat as the case may be” shall be substituted. the at a earlier. resignation the Committee. institution, authority Section 30 Filling up of casual vacancies.- When a vacancy occurs, either by removal, or otherwise, of a member of the Committee of Management of the a notified prescribed shall, subject to the provisions of section 25 fill up the vacancy by appointing a new member to Such member of the Committee appointed shall hold office only so long as a member in whose place he is appointed would have been entitled to hold office in the vacancy had not occurred. Section Declared Institutions:- State Government may, where it is satisfied on a report of the Commissioner under Section 43 or otherwise that any Hindu Religious Institution, The 42:
105. scheme, no following
1) Where administration, whether or not governed by a settled is being mismanaged, declare such institution to be subject to the regulation of this chapter. Provided such declaration shall be made without the hereinafter procedure specified. Section 43: Notice to show cause:- the Commissioner has reason to believe that a Hindu Religious Institution whether or not governed by a settled scheme is being mismanaged and he is satisfied that in the interest of its is necessary to take proceedings under this chapter, he may, by notice the prescribed manner, call upon the Manager and all other to persons having show such institution should not be declared to be subject to the provisions of this Chapter.
2) Such notice shall state the action reasons proposed a reasonable time, not being less than one month from the date of issue of the notice, for showing such cause.
3) The Manager or any person having interest may cause why and specify published in it interest, for the 106 prefer before time in further thereupon his objections, if any, to the issue of a declaration under this chapter.
4) Such objections shall be in writing and shall reach the Commissioner the expiry of the time specified in the notice aforesaid or within such not exceeding forty five days on the whole as may be extended by the Commissioner.
5) Where no objections are received within the time so specified or extended, the State Government may, on receipt of a report from the Commissioner to that effect, by a notification published in the official Gazette declare such Religious Institution to be subject to the provisions of this Chapter.
6) Where objections are received within the time so specified or extended, the Commissioner may authorize any officer subordinate to him to hold an enquiry into the objections the manner prescribed who shall after giving the Manger or any person having interest an opportunity of being heard submit his enquiry report to the Commissioner to whether or not the institution Hindu as 107 (6), if Hindu should be declared to be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
7) After considering the enquiry report referred to in sub-section the Commissioner decides that the Institution should be declared as aforesaid, he shall make a report to that effect to the State Government, which may, by notification declare such religious Institution to be subject to the provisions of this Chapter.
8) Every Notification issued under sub-section (5) or (7) shall remain in force for such period as may be specified therein and which may be extended further, so however that the total period shall not exceed five years from the date of the first notification, or till a new Committee of Management is formed to the the State satisfaction Government whichever is earlier.
9) Where a new Committee is formed to the satisfaction of the State Government, the State Government may on its own or on the report of the Commissioner the Executive Officer appointed for the institution to handover the management the direct of of 108 44: and in to the new Effect Institution Institution committee of Management. Section of Declaration: Where any Hindu Religious is declared under Section 42, the Committee of Management of the Institution by whatever name called shall from the date of such declaration stand dissolved its administration shall vest in the State Government to be regulated the manner hereinafter provided. Section 45: Appointment of Salaried Executive Officer:- For every Institution declared under the Commissioner shall, as soon as may be after the declaration is issued appoint a salaried Executive Officer the proper administration of the Institution. Section 46: Term of office and duties of Executive Officer:-
1) The Executive Officer shall hold office for such term as may the Commissioner and he shall exercise such power and perform such duties as are assigned the Commissioner: Provided that only such powers and duties as relate to this Chapter, to him by be fixed by for 109 the him in the the administration of religious properties of institution shall be assigned to the Executive Officer.
2) The Executive Officer shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Section 47: Action against Executive Officer:- The Commissioner, may for good and sufficient cause, suspend an executive officer or initiate proceedings disciplinary for against any misconduct accordance the Karnataka Civil with Services (Classification, Control and Appeal Rules) 1957. Section 48: Application of the Provisions of Chapters VI and VII cases:- Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (8) of section the State Government may while passing orders under sub- section (7) or during currency of issued under sub-section (5) or (7) thereof declare, for reasons to be recorded in writing, that in respect of any Declared Institution, the provisions of Chapter VI and VII shall apply as if the institution is a the notification in certain 43, 110 that no institution under and subject Power to notified section 23: Provided such declaration shall be made except after further notice is issued for the purpose, to the Institution concerned. of Section 49: issue Commissioner directions:-
1) Without prejudice to the generality of powers granted under Section 3 to other provisions of this Act, the Commissioner have issue general or power the special directions Chairman Executive person Officer connected the Management of a Notified Institution or a Declared Institution to ensure that the Institution properly administered and the income thereof is properly accounted for or duly appropriated and applied towards the objects and purposes of the institution and the Commissioner may also appropriate directions to such person if he finds that any property of the in danger of Institution being wasted, damaged, alienated or wrongfully sold, removed or disposed off.
2) It shall be the duty of any with or or give is to shall to is 111 every person to whom such directions to comply with the directions issued under sub-section (1). issued are It may be noticed that the Division bench of this court has categorically opined that the exclusion of maths, from the purview of the Act, is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The object of the Act was to bring in a uniform law for all Hindu religious institutions in the State and hence the exclusion of a math, and temples managed by maths, from the purview of the Act being discriminatory was emphasized. It is however, seen that in both Act no.27/2011 or Act no.13 of 2012, maths and temples attached to or managed by maths, remain excluded from the purview of the Act. And in spite of an assurance by the State in its appeal pending before the Supreme Court, as to a proposal to bring maths and temples managed by maths, within the purview of the Act, the State has religiously ensured that the same are kept out of 112 the purview of the Act by repeated amendments as is seen from the tenor of Section 1( 4), as it originally stood and as amended . The non - application of the Act to a Hindu Religious institution or charitable endowment founded, organized, run or managed by Hindu religious denomination was held to be contrary to the settled position, by the judgment of the Division Bench. It was held that all sections of Hindus constitute a religious denomination within the meaning of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India and that in matters concerning temple administration, the State could not discriminate between temples managed by a Hindu religious denomination vis-a-vis, a temple managed by a Hindu religious institution. Though the State has now chosen to delete the offending clause (ii) of sub-section (4) of Section 1 of Act 33 of 2001, which expressly indicated the non- application of the Act to any Hindu Religious Institution or Charitable Endowment managed by a Hindu Religious Denomination,- the State has chosen to define a Hindu Religious Denomination under Section 2(16) of Act No.3 113 of 2012, by adopting the definition of a religious denomination as contained in the Oxford Dictionary, without indicating whether the Act would apply to such a denomination or not. According to the contention put forth by Shri M.N.Rao, there are several denominations within the fold of the Hindu religion and this, according to him is stated by the Apex court in the Shirur Math case, AIR1954SC282 And by implication it is sought to be contended that an institution managed by a Hindu Religious Denomination is distinct and different from an institution managed by a Hindu Religious institution. In the said case referred to above, however, it is seen that the court was answering a contention that a math does not come within the description of a religious denomination as provided for in Article 26 of the Constitution of India and even if it does, what cannot be interfered with was its right to manage its own affairs in matters of religion. The same is answered thus by the Apex Court:
114. “15. As regards Article 26, the first question is, what is the precise meaning or connotation of the expression "religious denomination" and whether a Math could come within this expression. The word "denomination" has been defined in the Oxford Dictionary to mean "a collection of individuals classed together under same name : a religious sect or body having a common faith and organisation and designated by a distinctive name."
It is well know that the practice of setting up Maths as centers of theological teaching was started by Shri Sankaracharya and was followed by various teachers since then. After Sankara, came a galaxy of religious teachers and philosophers who founded the different sects and sub- sects of the Hindu religion that we find in India at the present day. Each one of such sects or sub-sects can certainly be called a religious denomination, as it is designated by a distinctive name, - in many cases it is the name of the founder, - and has a common faith and common spiritual organization. The followers of Ramanuja, who are known by the name of Shri Vaishnabas, undoubtedly constitute a religious denomination; and so do the followers of Madhwacharya and other religious teachers. It is a fact well established by tradition that the Udupi Maths were founded by Madhwacharya himself and the trustees and the beneficiaries of these Maths profess to be followers of that teacher. The High Court has found that the Math in question is in charge of the Sivalli Brahmins who constitute a section of the followers of Madhwacharya. 115 As Article 26 contemplates not merely a religious denomination but also a section thereof, the Math or the spiritual fraternity represented by it can legitimately come within the purview of this Article. It is therefore not evident that a Hindu Religious denomination would not fall with in the fold of a Hindu Religious institution. To wit , a math would be a Hindu religious institution , albeit that a spiritual fraternity represented by it is regarded as a Hindu religious denomination, as in the above case. The assertion that Hindus are not a religious denomination is untenable. Further, the said sub-section (16) of Section 2, seeks to substitute the same. It originally read as follows :
" Section 2(16):
"Hindu" does not include a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh; " It was held by the Division Bench that such exclusion of Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs , from the definition of the expression "Hindu",suffers from violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India 116 There is no indication of including Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs under the definition of "Hindus", by the subsequent amendments. In so far as the creation of a Common Pool Fund and the contributions to be compulsorily made from the same at a prescribed percentage for the purposes which were spelt out, the Division Bench has held that though the Hindu religion does not prohibit such contribution, it would still be desirable that such amount is spent exclusively for the Hindu institutions. Except for minor tinkering which does not address the concern of this Court, as expressed therein, there are no significant changes in the provision. The Division Bench has held that though the Chairmanship of the Advisory Committee, in terms of Section 20 of the Act, could not by itself be unconstitutional or illegal it was expressed that it would be desirable to have a head without any political affiliations to avoid politics in religious institutions. But there is no change in the constitution of the Committee in that regard. 117 As regards Notified institutions contemplated under the Act, the view expressed by the Division bench was to the effect that though the State government would have the power to enact a law for the better administration of temples. When it is apparent that there are several temples and institutions which, apart from providing religious services, were also providing laudable social welfare measures, and were being managed in an efficient and transparent manner - the wisdom of notifying such institutions to be governed by a Committee was held to be inexplicable. It was held to be violative of Article 14 and Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India. However, there is no change to the said scheme. As regards the constitution of the Committee of Management as provided under Section 25, the Division bench has noticed that the second proviso to Section 25(3) of the unamended Act showed that it did not apply to Hindu Religious Denominations, or in other words members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were excluded from the membership 118 of the Committee of management of a Hindu Religious Denomination. This was held to be violative of Article 14 of the constitution of India. And that there was no distinction between a Hindu denomination and Hindus. Act no.13 of 2012, which omits Section 25 and inserts a new Section 25, suffers from the same infirmity. In that, the second proviso to Sub- section (1) of Section 25 provides thus :
"Provided further that the Committee of Management in respect of notified institution be constituted according to the usage and practice prevailing therein" By reference to an alleged usage or practice in a notified institution a member of a Scheduled caste or a Scheduled Tribe, can be indefinitely denied membership. And more particularly, it is categorically spelt out thus in Section 2 (a) of Section 25, thus : “The Rajya Dharmika Parishat and Zilla Dharmika Parishat, while constituting the Committee of Management under sub-section (1), shall have due 119 regard to the religious denomination to which the institution or any section thereof belongs.” Hence, the same mischief is perpetrated in denying membership to members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes , if the usages and practices of an institution managed by a Hindu Religious Denomination - did not permit such persons from becoming members of their committee of management. In the light of the above picture that emerges, in the amended provisions of the Act, being more or less of the same tenor as were the unamended provisions - which were held to be unconstitutional by this Court in Shri Shasara Lingeshwara, point nos.1 & iii are answered in the affirmative. In so far as points nos.(iii) and (iv) are concerned, if the law passed by a Legislature is struck down by the Courts as being invalid for one or the other reason, it would be competent for the appropriate Legislature to cure the said infirmity and pass a validating law so as to make the provisions of the said earlier law effective from the date when it was passed. (See: Rai 120 Ramakrishna vs. State of Bihar, AIR1963SC1667. The Legislature can pass a retrospectively validating action taken under a law which was void because it contravened fundamental rights. If the legislature can by retrospective legislation, cure the invalidity of action taken in pursuance of laws which are void for want of legislative competence and can validate such action by appropriate provisions, the same power can be effectively exercised by the Legislature for validating action taken under laws which are void for the reason that they contravened fundamental rights. (See: West Ramnad Electric Distributioon Co. Ltd. vs. State of Madras, AIR1962SC1753. It was held that Legislature can change the basis on which a decision is given by the Court, and thus change the law in general, which will affect a class of persons and events at large. The Legislature can render judicial decisions ineffective by enacting a valid law on the topic within its legislative field fundamentally altering or changing its character retrospectively. The changed or altered conditions should be such that the previous decision would not have been 121 rendered by the Court; if those conditions had existed at the time of declaring the law as invalid. It is also empowered to give effect to retrospective legislation with a deeming date or with effect from a particular date. (See: Indian Aluminium Company vs. State of Kerala, AIR1996SC1431. And it is also laid down by the Apex court in Grand Kakatiya Sheraton Hotel and Towers Employees and Workers Union vs. Srinivasa Resorts Limited and others, (2009) 5 SCC342 in a situation where in circumstances that a statute is held to be unconstitutional, the offending provisions are sought to be reintroduced with cosmetic changes, as in the present case on hand, thus: “62. Section 40(3) is clearly comparable to Section 47(3) and also Section 47(4), as the last part of that section is identical with the wording in Section 47(4). The only difference which we find is that instead of the word “gratuity”, the terminology of “service compensation” is substituted. In our opinion, the High Court was right in opining that a mere cosmetic amendment could not have been made 122 by way of introduction of Sections 47(3) and 47(4). It was tried to be argued before us that in the present 1988 Act, the mischief pointed out by the High Court in the earlier Section 40 (3) of the 1966 Act has been remedied. We are unable to agree with such an argument. We do not see as to how and in what manner, the mischief has been remedied. xxx 64. The High Court also noted that the provisions of Sections 47(3) and 47(4) were nothing, but a cosmetic amendment to the earlier Section 40(3). It is, therefore, clear that no attempt has been made, whatsoever, to point out (sic remedy) the mischief found by the High Court in Section 40(3) of the 1966 Act. xxx 70. The High Court found that instead of remedying the defects point out in Suryapet Coop. Mktg. Society Ltd. v. Munsif Magistrate, (1972) 2 An LT163a cosmetic change was made by raising the period of six months to one year. We are, therefore, unable to accept the submission of the learned counsel for the appellant that the High Court proceeded on to decide the constitutionality on the basis of a comparison. We do not, therefore, see how the aforementioned judgment in State of M.P. v. G.C.Mandawar, AIR1954SC493 can be of any application and help to the present case.” 123 Thus, it can be safely said that not only was the amendment, brought about by Act no.13 of 2012, bad in law for the above reason but also for the reason that the Supreme court having granted an interim Order of Stay of the judgment of the Division bench of this court by an Order dated 2.4.2007 and again having modified the same, thereby vacating the interim order in so far as Section 25 of the Act, was concerned. The Section could not have been reintroduced in its avatar as contained in Act no.27 of 2011, which came into force with effect from 04.05.2011 or as contained in Act no.13 of 2012, which came into force with effect from 05.03.2012, at least in so far as Section 25 of the Act was concerned. It is noticed that the specific challenge to Act no.13 of 2012 is only in the form of an application filed in the petition in WP64805868, seeking to raise an additional prayer - to declare and strike down the said Act as void and inoperative- on the footing that the very grounds on which the 2011 Amendment Act is 124 challenged in the batch of petitions would equally apply to the said Act. The said application is formally allowed, as it is found by us that the above said broad assertion is indeed acceptable, as already found by us herinabove. The fact that the Apex Court has expressed in its order dated 24.3.2015 that the Act would be in force , till the disposal of the appeal pending before it - is not with reference to the 2011 or the 2012 Amendment Acts, but is with reference to Act 33 of 2001. Since we are in agreement with the views expressed by the Division Bench of this court in Shri Sahasra Lingeshwara case, our work was cut out to only address whether the legislative exercise by the State to repeatedly amend the Act has only resulted in reiterating the very provisions which were held to be unconstitutional, the need for elaborate pleadings in that regard was hardly necessary. There is essentially little difference between the unamended Act and the amended Acts in so far as the offending provisions are concerned. The incidental contention 125 that sub- Section 2(d) of Section 25 excludes office-bearers of political parties and hence the Section is completely altered, for instance, is not at all a convincing claim. To introduce and thrust a political 'big-wig' on a cash rich and influential religious institution could be achieved with ease by calling upon him to resign as an office bearer, temporarily. In so far as the other contentions on merits are concerned, given the limited challenge to the amendment Acts being on the limited aspect as aforesaid, it would be unnecessary to address the same on merits. Accordingly, the writ petition in WP65648 680/2011 is allowed along with the application for amendment, seeking an amendment in the main prayer, to include a challenge to Act No.13 of 2012. Accordingly, it is declared that the Karnataka Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment ) Act, 2011 and the Karnataka Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2012, as being discriminatory, violative of Constitutional rights and are accordingly struck down 126 in entirety. The other reliefs sought for by the petitioner are irrelevant. In the result, the petitions in WP6480564868/2011, WP721572012, WP8079680822/2013 and WP655392012 are disposed of in the light of the decision in WP65648 680/2011. Sd/- JUDGE Sd/- JUDGE nv*