Supreme Court refuses to involve in purely religious issues

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday steered clear of purely religious issues and said it would not issue any direction to the Union or state governments to frame a particular policy relating to management of religious places.
“We are not going to direct the government to do x, y or z in respect of religious places. That is entirely a matter of policy or for Parliament. It is a matter of legislative policy to design a proper law. We will not enter the legislative domain,” a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said.
The bench was dealing with a PIL filed by advocate-petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay seeking direction to the Union and state governments to ensure that Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains have rights similar to those of Muslims in managing their places of worship. It said such a right was already guaranteed to all religious denominations under Article 25 of the Constitution.
Refusing to entertain the PIL, which solicitor general Tushar Mehta called “vaguely drafted”, it said, “Every religious denomination has the right to manage their places of worship under Article 25 of the Constitution.” Upadhyay said in Delhi, Kalka temple was managed by the government but not Jama Masjid.
The SG said Upadhyay may have a cause but the petition was not maintainable, adding that he could approach the government. But the bench said, “Such petitions cause a problem. Sometimes the manner in which such issues are to be pursued is important. A PIL is not filed for the sole purpose of highlighting in the media.”
However, the bench agreed to hear three other petitions argued by senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, advocate Sai Deepak and politician Subramanian Swamy challenging the government takeover of religious institutions in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.
The SC said these petitions had raised specific challenges to the legislations enacted by the states and the court would deal with them. Upadhyay withdrew his petition and said he would intervene in one of the pending matters.

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