In the view of article 51-A authorities are required to work with secular mind: High Court Bombay

The petitioner was trustee for some time of Jagdamba Devi Sarvajanik Trust and temple of this Goddess is situated at Mohote, District Ahmednagar. It is his contention that he wants aforesaid reliefs as he is citizen of India and stays at Mohote.

It is contention of the petitioner that during the year 2011 and afterwards some illegal acts were committed by trustees of aforesaid trust and they involve burying of around 2 k.g. of gold in the name of Yantras and showing additional expenditure of Rs.25 lakh for doing ceremonies in respect of so called Yantras.

In the petition, other allegations are made in respect of other irregularities like not showing the account in respect of live stock given as donation, the development of forest land and spending amount under other heads without calling tenders etc.

The record was produced to show that specifc complaint was made to police by Andhashradha Nirmulan Committee for requesting to take action in respect of aforesaid illegal activity.It is specifcally contended in the reply afdavit that in meeting dated 12.9.2010 decision was taken for renovation of temple and use of 91 Suvarna Yantras which were to be founded below statutes of various Gods and Goddess.

It is contended that by passing resolution gold weighing 1890 grams was made available by the trustees and it was given to one Pandit Pradip Jadhav, resident of Solapur for preparation of Yantras and the amount of Rs.24,55,000/- was approved as material and labour charges for preparation of Yantras and for performing the religious rituals.

The provisions of the Trust Act show that the trustees need to take practical approach and they are bound by provisions of the Trust Act. The trustees may have personal beliefs but their personal beliefs cannot be used in the management of the trust.Further, there is one more enactment like the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifce and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013 and those provisions cannot be fouted by anybody.”

The trustees may have personal beliefs but their personal beliefs cannot be used in the management of the trust. The person who is in the management cannot be allowed to spend or dispose of the property in the manner done in the present matter for achieving something which cannot be scientifically proved.”

The court held that “The general fear may be of different kind like possibility that they may invite trouble as the matter involves religious feelings and it can be viewed as act against God. In view of the Article 51-A of the Constitution of India, this Court holds that the authorities are expected to work with secular mind in such case and they need to adhere to the ‘truth’.

The authority needs to have scientific approach in such matters and they need to adhere to the provisions of law.”

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