1. The applicant Shridhar Krishnarao Date was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of Section 100 under Section 6 (1), Central Provinces and Berar Temple Entry Authorization Act, 1947, by the Second Class Magistrate, Wardba and his appeal was dismissed by the Additional District Magistrate, Wardha. He has now come up in revision to this Court.
2. On 14th January 1948, 'harijan day' was observed in mauza Nagjbari, Wardha Tahsil, and at other places in accordance with the direction of the Provincial Government and the Local Gram Congress Committee issued a proclamation to the effect that the harijans could visit the temples in the bait under the terms of 8. 9 of the aforesaid Act. On that night a procession of harijans and caste Hindus went to the Bhri Mahadeo temple, but the applicant denied entry to the harijans and relyiug on the gift deed Ex. D 1 claimed that the temple was his private property. The report Ex. P-l was there, after made at the Pulgaon police station and the applicant, who is the malguzar-mukaddam of Nagjhari, was prosecuted.
3. The applicant admitted that a procession had gone to the temple on the night in question, but he claimed that the temple was not open to the general public as it had been gifted to him by the former proprietor Amrut Govind Peshkar by a gift deed on 8th May 1946. He had, he added, no objection to darshan by the harijans, but he was not prepared to have the temple used for lectures, feral and tillgud. No desire for darshan had been expressed by the processionists and the allegation that he had inhibited it had been falsely raided for the purposes of revenge as he was not a Congressman. Five witnesses were examined in the applicant's behalf.
4. Ramchandra (D.W. 1) had written the gift deed Ex, D 1 which bad been executed by Amrut Peshkar and his four sons; and Govind (D. W. 2) was one of the attesting witnesses. The applicant joint brother Manuhar (D. W. 6) averred that the temple had no trustee or panch committee; and Ajib (d. w. 8), Mahar, who was one of the processionists, stated that the applicant had told them that he had no objection to darshan by Mahars and others but that he would not permit them to have faral or hold lectures in the temple. Ajib had, however, signed the report Ex. PI against the applicant; and although Jhamaji stated that he was not in the procession, he added that he had signed the report because its contents were true. The report, it is relevant to add, charged the applicant with having obstructed caste Hindus and others when they went to the temple for darehan and tillgud.
5. Although Suryabhan (P.W. 1) declared that the temple was under a trust and was a public temple, he bad not seen the trust deed and did not know whether one was in existence. He also did not know the names of the punohas or of the person or persons who maintained the accounts of the temple. Pandurang (P.W. i), however, stated that he was the head of a communities of trustees which controlled the temple and that the applicant, Amrut (P.W. 2) and others were member of that body. He was constrained, however, to admit that the communities never met, that he never visited the temple and that there was no income from it. Gangaram (P.W. 3) and Jangloo (P.W. 6) did not know to whom it belonged and it is, there, fore, far from certain that Amrut P.W. 2's assertion. that it belonged to the people of the village was accurate.
6. The question is thus not free from doubt but it is not one which calls for determination in this proceeding. The definition of 'temple' in Section 2 (b), C. P. & Berar Temple Entry Authorization Act, 1947 is:
A place, by whatever name known and to whomsoever belonging, which is used whether temporarily or permanently as a place of religious worship by custom, usage or otherwise by the membera of the Hindu community or any section thereof, and includes all land appurtenant thereto and subsidiary shrines attached to any such place.
The question of ownership is, therefore, immaterial; and the definition stresses the fact that a temple is a place which is used temporarily or permanently as a place of religious worship by custom, usage or otherwise by the members of the Hindu community or any section thereof.
7. With regard to the use of the temple in question as a place of worship prior to the incident, Suryabhan stated that it was visited by waste Hindus, Kunbis and some Harijans, but Amrut declared that it was visited by persons who were not Harijans and that their darshan took place in its vicinity. Gangaram put this in another way when he said: 'The Kunbis were allowed in the temple but we Mahars were not allowed', and, 'We, the Mahars, used to visit the temple of Hanumanji before the incident.' The applicant's brother Manohar also affirmed that they had not permitted Harijans to enter the temple prior to 14fch January 1948.
8. It was, therefore, clear that entry into the temple and worship therein were denied to the Harijans and that for the purposes of the Act they came within the ambit of the term 'excluded class' as defined in Section 2 (a). Persons belonging to such class are Under Section 3 (1) entitled since 2nd November 1947 to enter any temple and offer worship therein in the same manner and to the same extent as Hindus in general. 'Worship' is defined in Section 2 (c) as such religious service as the bulk of the worshippers may offer, or participate in, in accordance with such rules and regulations as may be made under this Act; but the learned Additional Government Pleader, who was given time to make inquiries, now reports that no rules and regulations have been made under the Act as their making was not considered necessary for the present.
9. The insertion of the word 'means' by the legislation in the definition of 'worship' con-noted, as Das J. pointed out in Province of Bengal v. Sin. Hingul Kumari Law A.I.R. 1946 Cal. 217 : 2251 C 130 that it wanted to exhaust the significance of the term defined. Here, if 'worship' had not been defined or if the last words of the definition had been omitted, the conviction of the applicant would perhap3 have been proper, but, as it is, the word 'worship' in Section 3 (i) must be construed in the terms of its definition in Section 2 (c), in spite of the fact that Section 3 (1) refers to worship by persons of the excluded classes 'in the same manner and to the same extent as Hindus in general'. .
10. The effect of combining Section 2(c) and 3 (1) would thus be '3 (1) Notwithstanding...persons belonging to the excluded classes shall be entitled to enter any temple and offer such religious service therein a3 the bulk of the worshippers may offer, or participate in, in accordance with such rules and regulations as may be made under this Act' It follows that the religious service which members of an ex-eluded class may at present offer in a temple is not only that which the bulk of the worshippers may offer or participate in but a religious service which is in accordance with rules and regulations to be made under the Act.
11. As such rules and regulations have not yet been made, it is not possible for me to deter, mine the exact nature of the religious service which the harijans are entitled to take part in or to offer. In other words, I am unable to decide the character of the religious service from which they might legally be debarred because the definition of 'worship' is, as shown, a contingent definition and one which must by reason of its terms constitute a departure, however exiguous, from 'worship' as defined in the dictionary.
12. In the absence of rules and regulations, it is not open to me to hold that the applicant acted illegally and his conviction and sentence must be set aside. The fine, if paid by, shall be refunded to him.