SC’s ruling for remuneration to imams a ‘violation of Constitution’, says CIC

File photo

  • ‘Tax payers money will not be used to favour any particular religion’
  • Following Babri Masjid demolition, Narasimha Rao announced several sops to Muslims, including salaries to the imams
  • Hindu right wing groups have kept making it a point to attack Congress for “Muslim appeasement”

In a significant development, the Central Information Commission on Saturday said that the Supreme Court’s ruling to pay remuneration to imams and muezzins of mosques is “violation of the Constitution.”

Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar, while hearing an RTI application filed by an activist demanding details of salaries to imams by the Delhi government and the Delhi Waqf Board, also observed that the order violated constitutional provisions that say “tax payers money will not be used to favour any particular religion”, reported PTI. The commissioner said that it has set a “wrong precedent”.

He has directed that a copy of his order be sent to the Union law minister with suitable action to ensure enforcement of provisions of articles 25 to 28 of the Constitution in letter and spirit to keep all religions on par in terms of monthly remuneration to priests of different religions at the cost of the public exchequer – both central and states – and also other matters, reported the agency.

Background behind rumination to imams

Following the demolition of Babri Masjid, the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao announced several sops to Muslims to address their disenchantment. Among the several sops to Muslims announced then, salaries to the imams and muezzins were wholeheartedly welcomed by Muslim religious clerics. Jameel Illyasi, then close to the then ruling dispensation, was instrumental in getting Rao announce it. (Notably, Ilyasi’s son Umer Ahmed Ilayasi, closed to Hindu right wing groups, is heading the All India Imam Organisation headquartered in Delhi where RSS last month paid a visit.) However, secular brigades and Hindu right wing groups opposed the move.

Faced with opposition, Jameel Ilyasi, who headed All India Imam Organisation, petitioned the Supreme Court which ruled in 1993 that Waqf Boards should establish schemes to pay the imams. The Supreme Court had directed the waqf board to give remuneration to imams in mosques managed by it, triggering “an unnecessary political slugfest and social disharmony”.

Ever since the judgment, the Hindu right wing groups have kept making it a point to attack Congress for “Muslim appeasement”. On the other hand, Muslim intellectuals raised objection to the move on various occasions, arguing a secular state is not supposed to pay the remuneration for any religious affairs.

Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy, in an article published in New Age Islam in 2011, said “Government has no business to fix salaries of the imams. Just as the community build mosques and maintain them on their own, they should also pay the imams well.” However, in the same article, the imams’ bodies reported argued that they demand salaries from the income of the Waqf Boards which are custodians of Muslim-dominated properties. “Our demand is from the Waqf Boards which control huge Muslim properties,” says Maulana Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, president of All India Imam Organisation.

‘SC judgement sets wrong precedent’ 

In reply to the RTI, the Information Commissioner said judgment “sets a wrong precedent” in the country and cited Article 27 of the Constitution which states that the “tax payers’ money will not be used to favour any particular religion.” Maurkar said: “The commission observes that the highest court of the country in passing this order acted in violation of the provisions of the Constitution.”

He also directed the Delhi Waqf Board to pay a compensation of ₹25,000 to RTI activist Subhash Agrawal for the loss of time and resources in chasing the response to his application, according to PTI. “It is necessary to go into the history when it comes to giving special religious benefits to the Muslim community by the State. A religious (Islamic) nation Pakistan was born out of the demand of a section of Indian Muslims for partition of India along religious lines. Despite Pakistan choosing to be a religious (Islamic) nation, India chose a Constitution guaranteeing equal rights to all religions,” Mahurkar said.

 

-INDIA NEWS STREAM

Apex Muslim body rejects UCC, objects bid to scrap Place of Worship Act, but supports switching over to any religion

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in a crucial meeting on Sunday deliberated upon the political tantrum on Uniform Civil Code (UCC), hate speeches as well the BJP’s...

Cong to ask three questions daily on Adani issue

New Delhi :The Congress on Sunday said that it will ask three questions a day related to Adani issue to the Prime Minister. The Congress said that after Panama Papers...

As caste census demand grows louder, ‘Mandal politics’ returns to UP

Lucknow : With a little over a year left for the Lok Sabha elections, Uttar Pradesh is returning to 'Mandal' politics with the focus turning firmly on other backward castes...

Pre-trial incarceration: Chidambaram on court’s verdict on Delhi riots case

New Delhi : After a Delhi court acquitted 11 people in the riots case and termed them as 'scapegoats' while casting aspersions on police, former Home Minister P. Chidambaram has...

Crackdown on child marriages in Assam: Women demand release of their husbands, sons

Over 2,000 people have so far been arrested and 4,004 cases have been registered in the state Asaduddin Owaisi calls the move communal, biased against the Muslim 31.8% of women...

Liquor scam: BJP stages massive protest, demands Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation

Delhi BJP leaders and workers on Saturday staged a protest at the AAP office in the national capital, demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after the ED named...

Opposition objects to introduction of private member’s bill seeking repeal of Places of Worship Act

The opposition parties have strongly objected to the introduction in the Rajya Sabha of a private member's bill which seeks to repeal the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991....

SC seeks response from Centre, 6 states on plea challenging anti-conversion laws

Several BJP-ruled states brought in new ‘freedom of religion’ laws, which right-wing groups have made clear are meant to tackle  bogey of ‘love jihad’ Jamiat seeks transfer of 3 petitions...

Chhattisgarh: Security forces stop rights activists from visiting Maoist-hit areas  

Maoists on January 12 alleged that the security personnel had carried out aerial strikes on villages in Sukma and Bijapur districts The activists said they were trying to reach the...

Lok Sabha adjourned amid Oppn’s protests over Adani issue

New Delhi : The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Friday amid protests by Congress-led opposition demanding probe into Hindenburg's report alleging fraud against Adani group. As soon...

‘Government has nothing to do with Adani issue,’ says Pralhad Joshi

New Delhi: Amid continued disruptions in both houses of Parliament over US-based research firm Hindenburg's allegations against Adani group, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Friday said that the government...

Rs 9,600 cr land scam: BJP files complaint with Lokayukta against Siddaramaiah, Robert Vadra in K’taka

Bengaluru:  A complaint had been lodged in Karnataka Lokayukta against Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra in connection with illegally taking over of Rs 9,600...

Read Previous

Congress leader Asif Mohammad Khan, father of MCD candidate from Shaheen Bagh, held for ‘assaulting’ cops

Read Next

India successfully orbits Indo-French collaborative EOS 6/OCEANSAT, 8 other satellites

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com