SC quashes HC order on repair of shrines damaged in 2002 riots
By Team Legistify / 2017-08-31

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The Supreme Court today set aside the Gujarat High Court’s 2012 verdict asking the state government to grant compensation for restoration of religious places damaged during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The court accepted the scheme formulated by the state government to provide “ ex gratia assistance ” of up to Rs 50,000 to all religious places, including mosques and temples, which were damaged or destroyed during the communal riots, on par with the relief granted for the destruction of houses.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant referred to apex court verdicts and Article 27 of the Constitution (freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of a particular religion) and said that substantial part of tax payers’ money cannot be granted for repairing religious structures.

“The said scheme has to be appreciated on the anvil of the directions issued in the Prafull Goradia and Archbishop Raphael Cheenath S.V.D cases (earlier judgements).

“In the first case, the two-judge bench has opined that object of Article 27 is to maintain secularism and the said Article would be violated if the substantial part of entire income tax collected in India, or a substantial part of the entire central excise or the customs duties or sales tax, or a substantial part of any other tax collected in India, were to be utilised for promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination …,” CJI Misra, writing the judgement, said.

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