The test of Essential Religious Practices was first laid forth by the Supreme Court in 1954 in “The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras vs. Shri Lakshmindar Tirtha Swamiyar of Shri Shirur Mutt” case or, the Shirur Mutt case. A 7-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that what constitutes the essential part of a religion is primarily to be ascertained with reference to the doctrines of that religion itself. The court held that “religion” in Article 25 covers all rituals and practices that are “integral” or “essential” to a religion, but the litigants have to prove these essential features. The following article analysis the Hindu Religious Endowments Vs L.T Swaminar case in brief.
|Name of the case||THE SHIROOR MATT CASE|
|Citation||1954 Air 282, 1954 Scr 1005|
|Year of the case||16 APRIL, 1954|
|Appellant||THE COMMISSIONER, HINDU RELIGIOUS ENDOWMENTS, MADRAS|
|Respondent||SRI LAKSHMINDRA THIRTHA SWAMIAR OF SRI SHIRUR MUTT|
|Bench/Judges||MUKHERJEA, B.K, HASAN, GHULAM, BHAGWATI, NATWARLAL H. AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA MAHAJAN, MEHAR CHAND (CJ) DAS, SUDHI RANJANBOSE, VIVIAN|
|Acts involved||Constitution of India Act,1950:|
The Math, called Shirur Math, of which the petitioner is the superior or Mathadhipati, is one of the eight Maths situated at Udipi within the district of South Kanara and they’re reputed to have been based with the aid of Shri Madhvaacharya, the famous exponent of dualistic theism in the Hindu Religion. Besides that eight Maths, each certainly one of which is presided over through a Sanvasi or Swami, there exists every other historical religious institution at Udipi, referred to as Shri Krishna Devara Math, also installed by using Madhwacharya which is supposed to contain a photo of God Krishna at first made with the aid of Arjun and miraculously acquired from a vessel wrecked at the coast of Tulava. There isn’t any Mathadhipati in the Shri Krishna Math and its affairs are controlled by using the superiors of the alternative eight Maths by using turns and the custom is that the Swami of each of these 8 Maths presides over the Shri Krishna Math in a flip for a length of two years in every 16 years.
The appointed time of exchange inside the headship of the Shri Krishna Math is the occasion of an exceptional festival, called Pariyayam, whilst a great concourse of devotees collect at Udipi from all elements of Southern India, and a historical utilization imposes an obligation upon the Mathadhipati to feed every Brahmin that involves the area at that time.
Background & the Facts of the Case
The petitioner was set up as Mathadhipati inside the 12 months 1919, while he becomes however minor, and he assumed control after coming of age a while in 1926. At that time the Math becomes carefully in debt. Between 1926 and 1930 the Swami succeeded in clearing off a massive portion of the debt. In 1931, however, got here the turn of his taking over control of the Shri Krishna Math and he had needed to incur money owed to fulfill the heavy expenditure attendant on the Pariyayam ceremonies.
- The Board, it seems, dropped that enquiry, but without looking ahead to the end result of the match, initiated complaints suo moto under segment sixty two of the Earlier Act and issued a word upon the Swami on the sixth of November, 1950, pointing out that it had reason to trust that the endowments of the said Math have been being mismanaged.
- The observation was served with the aid of affixture on the Swami and the eighth of December, 1950, was fixed because of the date of enquiry. On that date at the request of the suggestions for the Swami, it becomes adjourned to the twenty first of December.
- On the 8th of December, 1950, a utility becomes filed on behalf of the Swami praying to the Board to difficulty a path to the agent at hand over the account papers and different files, without which it become now not feasible for him to report his objections. As the lawyer performing for the Swami became unwell, the matter turned into again adjourned until the 10th of January, 1951. The Swami was not prepared together with his objections even on that date as his attorney had now not recovered from his infection and a telegram become despatched to the Board on the day before today inquiring for the latter to provide a further adjournment.
- The Board did not accede to this request and as no rationalization became filed by way of the Swami, the enquiry changed into closed and orders reserved upon it. On the 13th of January, 1951, the Swami, it seems despatched a written explanation to the Board, which the latter admittedly obtained on the 15th.
- On the twenty fourth of January, 1951, the Swami received a observe from the Board mentioning inter alia that the Board turned into glad that inside the pursuits of right management of the Math and its endowments, the settlement of a scheme changed into necessary.
- A draft scheme was sent along with the notice and if the petitioner had any objections to the equal, he becomes required to send in his objections on or before the 11th of February, 1951, because the final order regarding the scheme would be made on the 15th of February, 1951.
- On the 12th of February, 1951, the petitioner filed the petition, out of which this enchantment arises, in the High Court of Madras, praying for a writ of prohibition to restrict the Board from taking similar steps within the rely of settling a scheme for the administration of the Math. It became alleged inter alia that the Board changed into actuated via bias in opposition to the petitioner and the motion is taken by using it with regard to the settling of a scheme was no longer a bona fide act at all.
Issues Involved in the Case
- The meaning of the word property and its extent.
- Is the payment of annual contribution under Section 76(1) of the Act void?
- Does the imposition of tax under Article 76(1) of the Act come within the latter part of Article 27?
- Should the word “property” as used in Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution be given a liberal and wide connotation and should it be extended to all well-recognized types of interest which have the insignia or characteristics of proprietary right?
- The distinction between a tax and a fee.
- Vidya Varuthi v. Balusami (48 I.A. 302)
- Monahar v. Bhupendra (60 Cal. 452)
- Ganesh v. Lal Behary ( 63 I.A. 448)
- Bhabatarini v. Ashdlata (70 I.A. 57)
- Angurbala v. Debabrata (  S.C.R. 1125)
- Davis v. Benson (133 U.S. 333)
- The phrase “property” as utilized in Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution ought to take delivery of a liberal and huge connotation and must be prolonged to all nicely-diagnosed sorts of interest which have the insignia or characteristics of proprietary proper.
- The phrase “belongings” as utilized in the artwork. Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution must be given a liberal and wide connotation and must be prolonged to all properly-diagnosed sorts of interest which have the insignia or characteristics of proprietary proper.
- A tax is a compulsory exaction of money by using public authority for public functions enforceable by means of regulation and is no fee for offerings rendered.
- The difference between a tax and a fee lies often within the fact that a tax is levied as part of a not unusual burden, even as a fee is a payment for a unique gain or privilege.
- That at the data of the present case the imposition beneath a. 76(1) of the Act, even though it is a tax, does now not come in the latter part of the Article 27 due to the fact the item of the contribution under the phase isn’t always the fostering or upkeep of the Hindu faith or any denomination under it however the proper administration of religious trusts and establishments anywhere they exist.
The following Provisions were discussed during the suit:
- Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Article 26 of the Constitution. Section 99 provisions of Articles 19(1) (f) and 26 of the Constitution
- Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act (Act 2 clause (2) of Articles 110 and 119
- Articles 110 and 119 of the Constitution
- Madras Act, Section 21, 30(2), 31, 55, 56, and 63 to 69
- Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution
The check of Essential Religious Practices was first laid forth by means of the Supreme Court in 1954 inside the Shirur Mutt case. A 7 Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that what constitutes the essential a part of a religion is mainly to be ascertained as regards to the doctrines of that religion itself.
If the tenets of any spiritual sect of the Hindus prescribe that offerings of food should be given to the idol at precise hours of the day, that periodical ceremonies must be carried out in a certain way at positive intervals of the year or that there have to be each day recital of sacred texts or oblations to the sacred fire, these types of could be seemed like elements of religion and the mere truth that they involve an expenditure of money or employment of priests and servants or the usage of marketable commodities might now not cause them to secular sports participating of an industrial or financial character; all of them are spiritual practices and need seem topics of faith in the which means of Article 26(b).
What Article 25(2)(a) contemplates is not the law by the State of spiritual practices as such, the liberty of which is assured by way of the Constitution except once they run counter to public order, health and morality but regulation of sports which are monetary, commercial or political of their individual even though they may be associated with religious practices.
Q1. What is the doctrine of “essentiality?
The doctrine of “essentiality” was invented by a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the ‘Shirur Mutt’ case in 1954. The court held that the term “religion” will cover all rituals and practices “integral” to a religion, and took upon itself the responsibility of determining the essential and non-essential practices of a religion.
Q2. A bench of how many judges were the case referred to?
The shishur Mutt case was referred to as a constitutional bench of 7 judges.
Q3. Commissioner, Hindu Endowments vs L. T Swaminar is also called as?
The Shishur Mutt case
Q4. What was the view of the court on the Shishur Mutt case?
The court held that the term “religion” will cover all rituals and practices “integral” to a religion, and took upon itself the responsibility of determining the essential and non-essential practices of a religion.