The Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court recently observed that police or judicial officers should work with a secular mind and have a scientific approach even when dealing with cases relating to religion. The court added that they should avoid “general fear” of inviting trouble if the case involves religious feelings and that initiating action can be viewed as an “act against God”.
A Bench of Justices TV Nalawade and MG Sewlikar noted that several persons including the petitioner, Namdev Garad, had made several attempts to draw the attention of the authorities to the illegalities of the Jagdamba Devi Sarvajanik Trust, but the authorities avoided to discharge their duty. They referred to the inquiry records of the Trust office, inquiry made by the police into the matter and deduced that the authorities showed no courage to take action against such serious offence of a Trust only because it involved religious feelings.
It was also submitted that Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANIS), in 2017, had made a complaint to the police, seeking action against alleged illegal activity. However, no cognizance was taken which prompted him to move the high court. The court observed that it was “surprising” that even when the district judge was a member of the Trust, he accepted the proposals made by the architect to construct structures for the ceremony involving burying of “Suvarna Yantras”.
Therefore, the Court directed the registration of the crime, and ordered that the investigation be made by a police officer of the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police or Deputy Superintendent of Police. It also refused the relief for stay of the order claimed by the counsel for Respondents.