Dear readers, here we are sharing Shani Shingnapur Case Judgement PDF with all of you. We hope many of you are aware of the matter which is going on between the Gram Panchayat Shani Shingnapur and The State Of Maharashtra on the matter related to religious beliefs.
As per a 400-year-old tradition, women were not allowed to enter the Shani temple. After mass awareness campaigns, their entry was allowed in 2011, but they were prohibited from climbing the shrine platform. It is the reason that this case is under the bench of S.V. Gangapurwala.
Shani Shingnapur Case Judgement PDF
1. Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith. With the consent of learned counsel for respective parties matter is taken up for final hearing.
2. The right of the petitioner to collect pilgrim tax is a subject matter of the present petition.
3. The petitioner was permitted to collect pilgrim tax pursuant to order dated 31.07.2016 issued by the Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad, Ahmednagar at the rate of Rs. 2.50 per 3 wp 8593.16 pilgrim above the age of 12 years. The same was pursuant to the Resolution of the Standing Committee – Zilla Parishad, Ahmednagar dated 14.07.2006. From 31.07.2006. The petitioner started imposing pilgrim tax at the rate of Rs. 2 per head.
4. Under the impugned order, the Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad, Ahmednagar directed the petitioner to stop collecting the pilgrim tax as per the Resolution of the Standing Committee dated 14.07.2016. The petitioner has assailed the said order by filing the present petition.
5. Mr. Mantri, learned Advocate for the petitioner strenuously contends that after following due procedure of law the petitioner is permitted to levy the pilgrim tax, and is collecting the pilgrim tax since 31.07.2006. The Resolution was passed by the Panchayat Samiti, Newasa on 29.06.2006, permitting Grampanchayat Shanishingnapur to place the matter before the 4 wp 8593.16 Standing Committee, Zilla Parishad, Ahmednagar in respect of levying the pilgrim tax. The Standing Committee, Zilla Parishad, Ahmednagar on 14.07.2006 passed Resolution No. 589, thereby resolving to grant permission to the petitioner to levy pilgrim tax at the rate of Rs. 2.50 on every pilgrim above the age of 12 years. Accordingly, the Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad, Ahmednagar issued an order dated 31.07.2006 permitting the petitioner to levy and collect pilgrim tax. According to the learned Advocate, there was not a single complaint against the petitioner in collecting the pilgrim tax. Though, the petitioner was permitted to collect pilgrim tax at the rate of Rs. 2.50, the petitioner imposed pilgrim tax at the rate of Rs. 2 per head only. The petitioner has not violated any conditions imposed in the order permitting the petitioner to levy and collect pilgrim tax. The petitioner has not received any notice in regard to violation of the conditions imposed by 5 wp 8593.16 respondent no. 2 in collecting pilgrim tax. The petitioner kept the accounts of pilgrim tax collected and an audit is done every year in respect of the same. Every year during the time of Yatra and Utsavs near about 7 to 8 lacs pilgrims visit devasthan namely Shanishingnapur, and at that time petitioner is not collecting any pilgrim tax from the pilgrims. The petitioner has to take every measure to maintain/manage water supply, cleanliness, sanitation, electricity and look after health problems of all those who visit the devasthan Shanishingnapur, more particularly, on the occasion of Shaniamawasya, Gudipadwa, Shanijayanti. According to the learned Advocate, the petitioner has a right to collect the pilgrim tax as per Rule 36 of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Taxes and Fees Rules, 1960 (hereinafter referred to ‘Rules-1960’). The word ‘Pilgrim’ cannot be given a restricted meaning. A person who visits holy shrine is a pilgrim. Even proviso to Rule 36 of the Rules – 1960, permits collection of 6 wp 8593.16 pilgrim tax for the whole year, and consciously decision has been taken by the respondent permitting the petitioner to collect pilgrim tax for the whole year.
6. The learned Advocate further submits that respondent nos. 2 to 4 did not have authority to direct the petitioner not to collect the pilgrimage tax. The said power vests only with the State Government under Section 124 (6) of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to ‘Act – 1958). He further submits that respondent nos. 2 to 4 had produced forged Resolution No. 15, action deserves to be taken against them. The learned Advocate further submits that initially when the petitioner was permitted to collect the pilgrimage tax, the same was challenged by some of the persons before this Court by filing writ petition bearing no. 6050 of 2006. The writ petition was withdrawn on the ground that respondent no. 5 would resort to remedy available under Sub Sections 5 and 6 of 7 wp 8593.16 Section 124 of the Act – 1958. Respondent no. 5 did not avail the said remedy. In the said writ petition, affidavit was filed by the Gramsevak thereby substantiating the due adherence to the procedure while imposing the pilgrimage tax.
7. Mr. Shelke learned Advocate for respondent nos. 2 to 4 submits that the copy of the Resolution No. 15 produced by respondents nos. 2 to 4 along with the affidavit was incomplete. The concerned Clerk had copied the incomplete Resolution. Inquiry is also initiated against him. The warning is also issued to him. There is no intentional act on the part of respondents nos. 2 to 4 in producing the copy of Resolution No. 15. The correct copy of the Resolution No. 15 is also produced. The learned Advocate submits that the Panchayat Samiti Newasa passed Resolution No. 6 in its meeting dated 21.06.2006 thereby authorizing the Grampanchayat / petitioner to levy pilgrimage tax during pilgrimage only. The Standing Committee approved the said Resolution 8 wp 8593.16 and permitted the Grampanchayat to levy pilgrim tax. The said tax was to be levied during the period of pilgrimage only. As far as the deity Shani is concerned, there is a pilgrimage on the occasion of Shani Amavasya and Shani Jayanti which is once in a year. The Grampanchayat / petitioner was authorized to collect pilgrim tax on these occasions only. However, the petitioner started collecting pilgrim tax every day throughout the year which is not contemplated. There were complaints regarding this illegal collection of the pilgrim tax by the Grampanchayat. Though the tax was collected, no facilities were made available to the pilgrims. In view of this, the Grampanchayat was asked to stop the collection of pilgrim tax. The petitioner has an alternate remedy available.
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