Delhi: PIL filed in HC against salaries paid to imams, muftis of mosques

A public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the payment of salary to imams, maulvis, and other members of masjids in Delhi has been filed with the Delhi High Court.

The plea claimed that the AAP-led Arvind Kejriwal government has been paying crores to the Delhi Waqf Board for the payment of wages to imams, maulvis, and other members of masjids around Delhi, in flagrant violation of Articles 14 and 27 of the Indian Constitution. On the other side, no compensation is given to the pujari of the temples located throughout Delhi. According to the argument, it is against Article 14 of the Indian Constitution to not pay temple priests and pujaris their salaries.

The argument added that the Indian Constitution requires all governments, whether at the federal or state levels, to function in a secular manner. With the inclusion of the word “secular” in the Preamble by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976, the implicit element regarding secularism inherent in the Constitution became explicit.

Further, Article 27 of the Constitution of India mandates 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.”

The specific clause, in other words, forbids the use of tax dollars for religious purposes, the argument continued.

The government of the NCT of Delhi, however, is violating the aforementioned notion of secularism.

Through a petition, the petitioners, Gargi Khanna and Prerna Singh, asked the NCT of Delhi government to either pay monthly remuneration to the temples’ pujaris or, in the alternative, to stop paying the Waqf Board with government money.

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