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Impact of the recent Chidambaram Temple Judgement and the action that the Central Government

need to take under Art 256 or Art 254(2)

Sec 156 of the AP Endowments 30/87 Act reads as follows: -


Central enactments cease to apply to charitable and religious institutions: - The enactments mentioned
below shall cease to apply to Charitable and the Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments thereof to
which this Act applies; and Section 8 of the Andhra Pradesh General Clauses Act, 1891 shall apply upon
such cessor as if these enactments had been repealed by an Andhra Pradesh Act;
(a) The Andhra Pradesh Andhra Area Endowments and Escheats Regulations 1817;
(b) The Religious Endowments Act, 1863;
(c) The charitable Endowments Act, 1890;
(d) The Charitable and Religious Trusts Act, 1920;
(e) Sections 92 and 93 of the Code of Civil Procedure

Thus, clearly there was a need for Presidential assent as per provisions of Sec 254(2) in view of the number
of Central Acts whose operation in the State of Andhra Pradesh was repealed.

(2) Where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the
Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament
or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall,
if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that
State: Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law with
respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by
the Legislature of the State.

Sec 22 of the Religious Endowments Act, 1863 Act which reads as follows: -

Section 22- Government not to hold charge henceforth of property for support of any mosque, temple
etc.

Except as provided in this Act, it shall not be lawful for the Central Government or any State Government,
or for any officer of any Government in his official character,

to undertake or resume the superintendence of any land or other property granted for the support of, or
otherwise belonging to, any mosque, temple or other religious establishment, or

to take any part in the management or, appropriation of any endowment made for the maintenance of
any such mosque, temple or other establishment, or

to nominate or appoint any trustee, manager or superintendent thereof, or to be in any way concerned
therewith.

Clearly in light of the recent judgement of the Supreme Court in the now famous Chidambaram Temple
Case in Civil Appeal No 10621 of 2013 ratio that takeover of Hindu Temple administration by the
Government cannot be for an indefinite period. This ratio is also in tandem with Article 31-A(1)(b) by
which Government can enact laws by which the administration of a property is taken over for reasons of
public good or better management for a “limited period”. Even under Article 31-A(1)(b) laws can be made
only disregarding rights under Articles 14 and 19. The property rights i.e. the right to administer its
properties that is guaranteed to a religious denomination cannot be disturbed and even a takeover of
limited period is not permitted.

“…Even if the management of a temple is taken over to remedy the evil, the management must be handed
over to the person concerned immediately after the evil stands remedied. Continuation thereafter would
tantamount to usurpation of their proprietary rights or violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by
the Constitution in favour of the persons deprived. Therefore, taking over of the management in such
circumstances must be for a limited period. Thus, such expropriatory order requires to be considered
strictly as it infringes fundamental rights of the citizens and would amount to divesting them of their
legitimate rights to manage and administer the temple for an indefinite period…”

In view of the above ratio of the recent Supreme Court judgement the Central Government has to ensure
that the provisions of Sec 22 of the Religious Endowments Act,1863 is enforced and the Temples which
are being administered by State Governments in violation of the above ratio are divested from State
Government control and returned to the community.

The Supreme Court in Kaiser-I-Hind Pvt. Ltd. And Ors vs National Textile Corporation ... on 25
September, 2002 interpreting the assent under Art 254(2)

The assent of the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is considered to be part of the legislative
process only for the limited purpose that the legislative process is incomplete without them for enacting
a law and in the absence of the assent the Bill passed could not be considered to be an Act or a piece of
legislation, effective and enforceable and not to extend the immunity in respect of procedural formalities
to be observed inside the respective houses and certification by the presiding officer concerned of their
due compliance, to areas or acts outside the besides those formalities. The powers actually exercised by
the President, at any rate under Articles 31A, 31C, 254(2) and 304(b) is a special constituent power
vested with the Head of the Union, as the protector and defender of the Constitution and safety valve to
safeguard the Fundamental Right of citizens and Federal structure of the country's policy as adopted in
the Constitution. A genuine, real and effective consideration would depend upon specific and sufficient
information being provided to him inviting, at any rate, his attention to the Central law with which the
State law is considered or apprehended to be repugnant, and in the absence of any effort or exercise
shown to have been undertaken, when questioned before courts, the State law cannot be permitted or
allowed to have predominance or overriding effect over that Central enactment of the Parliament to
which no specific reference of the President at all has been invited to

In light of the above strong guidance of the SC Constitution Bench on Art 254(2) and given the need to
enforce Sec 22 of the Religious Endowments Act, 1863 there is a clear need to check if the AP State had
indeed got the assent under Art 254(2) following the due procedure laid down by the SC, if not then the
provisions of Sec 22 of the Religious Endowments Act, 1863 read with the ratio of the Chidambaram
temple Judgement and the ratio laid down by a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court in the S.D.G.
Pandara Sannati Case 1965 AIR 1683 needs to be enforced.

If the State of AP did indeed receive assent as per the procedure laid down by the SC under Art 254(2)
then the Central Govt can do amendments to the 30/87 AP Act to enforce provisions of Sec 22 of the
Religious Endowments Act, 1863 to ensure fundamental religious, administrative and cultural rights
guaranteed under Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution of India to individual citizens, religious
denominations and certain sections of citizens residing in India are not rendered nugatory to them. A
template Bill is attached herewith
THE ANDHRA PRADESH HINDU TEMPLES PROTECTION BILL, 2018

BILL

to further amend the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act,
1987 to ensure that in the State of Andhra Pradesh Endowments are preserved, dilapidated temples are
renovated, temples become pilgrim-friendly, the rich traditions and cultural heritage are preserved and
all stake holders participate in a spirit of partnership with devotion and dedication to bring temples back
into social life as centres of moral education, charities, human welfare, fine arts, architecture and
Dharma.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-ninth Year of the Republic of India as follows: -

1. (1) This Act may be called the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and
Endowments (Amendment) Act 2018

(2) It shall come into force on such date, as the Central Government may, by notification in the official
Gazette, appoint

2. In the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987
(hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), in section 152, in sub-section (1), -

(a) for item (i), the following shall be substituted:

“(i) Chairman, who shall be a devout Hindu citizen who is not a Government Servant or anyone
working for a Government entity or any entity which is funded by the Government and/or
administered by the Government and has experience and commitment to improve the Hindu
temple system to be nominated by the Government.”

(b) After item (xii), the following shall be added, -

“(xiii) two archakas having sound knowledge of agamas, vedas and temple traditions, possess
good conduct and command respect among temple devotees, one from Rayalaseema and
another from coastal Andhra, from the temples specified in section 6(a) (ii) of the Act”

3. In Section 154 of the principal Act, --


(i) For the words “Exemption :- The Government may by notification, exempt from the
operation of any of the provisions of this Act or any of the Rules made thereunder –”
The words “Exemption :- The Dharmika Parishad may by notification, exempt from the
operation of any of the provisions of this Act or any of the Rules made thereunder—”
Shall be substituted
STATEMENTS OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

The administration of temples in the Andhra Pradesh is governed by The Andhra Pradesh Charitable
and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act 1987 (Act 30 of 1987). Over the last three
decades there has been a substantial increase in pilgrim flow in certain temples while many of the
village temples have been languishing without any traditional religious rituals being performed and
many traditional archaka families have become impoverished and the temples have virtually shut
down. One Archaka sacrificed his life on the bell of a temple in the year 2001 to bring to the notice of
the Society the ill effects of the 30/87 AP Act triggering a grass root movement for its amendment.
The movement created pressure on the national parties to include amendments to the 30/87 AP Act
in their manifestos for 2004 assembly elections; subsequently the State legislature amended the Act
through amendment Act 33 of 2007 but unfortunately many of the salient features of this Act are yet
to be implemented by the Government of Andhra Pradesh even after a decade and over two decades
since the Supreme Court orders of 1997 which had recommended such amendments. It is the non-
implementation of the amendments by the Government of Andhra Pradesh that is one of the reasons
for this Bill, which delegates the important power of Exemptions to the Andhra Pradesh Dharmika
Parishad as per the Committee recommendations.

The Andhra Pradesh State Government appointed Committee on Service Issues of Temple Employees
in its report dated 5.1.2011 in Sec 2.2.3 has analyzed the reasons for the decay of the temple system
in State of Andhra Pradesh and has strongly recommended for the Government to delegate its powers
and functions to Dharmika Parishad to ensure that the amended Act can be effectively implemented to
bring about a sea change in the current environment.

The State of Telangana had recently made certain important amendments to the Sec 152 on the
constitution of the Dharmika Parishad which is also carried over to the same Sec 152 in the Andhra
Pradesh Act.

The Supreme Court has recently in its judgement ordered that Government takeover of Hindu Temple
administration has to be timebound to cure mismanagement and it cannot be perpetual. This is in line
with Sec 22 of the Central Religious Endowments Act 1863 which reads as follows:-

Section 22- Government not to hold charge henceforth of property for support of any mosque,
temple etc.

Except as provided in this Act, it shall not be lawful for the Central Government or any State
Government, or for any officer of any Government in his official character,
to undertake or resume the superintendence of any land or other property granted for the support of,
or otherwise belonging to, any mosque, temple or other religious establishment, or

to take any part in the management or, appropriation of any endowment made for the maintenance
of any such mosque, temple or other establishment, or

to nominate or appoint any trustee, manager or superintendent thereof, or to be in any way concerned
therewith.

In view of the Art 254(2) provision which reads as follows :- (2) Where a law made by the Legislature
of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision
repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to
that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the
consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State: Provided that nothing
in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same
matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legislature
of the State.

It is now incumbent on the Parliament to ensure the implementation of the Supreme Court orders under
Art 142 read with The Supreme Court (Decrees and Orders) Enforcement Order, 1954 and in view of
the assent already granted to The Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and
Endowments Act 1987 (Act 30 of 1987); an amendment to the State Act is necessitated as allowed by
Art 254(2).

The amendment seeks to strengthen the institution of the Andhra Pradesh Dharmika Parishad which
has already been recommended by the Andhra Pradesh Select Committee in its report as follows:- “A
semi autonomous Apex body called Andhra Pradesh Dharmika Parishad is sought to be created to
oversee the management of the entire temple system in the state. It would most likely discharge most of
the functions being currently performed by the Government. It would have the authority and
responsibility to institute appropriate administrative, financial and legal mechanisms to ensure that
Endowments are preserved, dilapidated temples are renovated, temples become pilgrim-friendly, the
rich traditions and cultural heritage are preserved and all stake holders participate in a spirit of
partnership with devotion and dedication to bring temples back into social life as centers of moral
education, human welfare, fine arts and architecture. It will not be merely an advisory body as
envisaged earlier. It will be the policy making body with substantial autonomy to coordinate and
facilitate better management of temples. The Sec 152 A(1) proposed in the amendment Bill is modified
accordingly

The power of Exemptions is giving to the Andhra Pradesh Dharmika Parishad with the objective that
the Andhra Pradesh Dharmika Parishad will ensure compliance with the spirit of Sec 22 of the Religious
Endowments Act 1863 read with the ratio of the Supreme Court judgement; further it will enable faster
implementation of the provisions of the amendment Act 33 of 2007 and Supreme Court orders of 1997
for exemption of low income temples from provisions of the Act as recommended by the Government
appointed Committee on Service Issues of Temple Employees in its report dated 5.1.2011