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Dec 2008

Considering the fact that the Government of India are utilizing the taxes collected from the Hindus for payment of expenses for the promotion and maintenance of a particular religion and religious institutions, a Writ Petition was filed in the Supreme Court in 2006 to the effect that the said act of the Government is unconstitutional and is in violation of Article 27 and as such infringes upon the Fundamental Rights of the Petitioner.

The Petition inter-alia mentioned that the Government are imposing and collecting various kinds of direct and indirect taxes from the Petitioner and other citizens of the country. The taxes so collected are also being utilised for promotion and maintenance of a particular religion and religious institutions. Out of the taxes collected sums are allotted to a Haj Fund. (ii) India being a secular state, it is not supposed to promote a particular religion at the expense of sums collected from other sections of the society. (iii) Secularism being one of the important basic features of our Constitution, Article 27 provides that no person shall be compelled to pay taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination. Further Article 28(1) prohibits any educational institution, which is wholly maintained out of State Funds, to provide for any religious instructions. (iv) Once the then Prime Minister Shri A.B. Vajpayee had observed that the construction of a Ram Temple was a national aspiration yet to be achieved. This was criticised by the Opposition on the ground that the statement was inconsistent with the secular nature of the State. It was also recalled by the Opposition that Jawaharlal Nehru had disassociated himself from the project of renovation and reconstruction of Somnath Temple. Nehru had even written to the then Chief Minister that no state funds should be utilized for the above temple.

Whereas the same Jawaharlal had no compunction in having the Haj Committee Act 1959 passed by the Parliament. Nehru wanted to curry favour with the minority Muslim community as against the majority Hindu population who were the main supporters of the Indian National Congress during the freedom struggle. 
The Petition therefore seeks relief in the nature of an appropriate writ/direction, inter-alia, directing the Govt. of India to refrain from collecting the tax from the Petitioner.


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