The Central Information Commission has said the 1993 Supreme Court order allowing remuneration to imams in mosques was in “violation of the Constitution” and besides setting a “wrong precedent”, has become a point of unnecessary political slugfest and social disharmony. Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar, while hearing an RTI application filed by an activist demanding details of salaries to imams by the Delhi government and the Delhi Waqf Board, also observed that the order violated constitutional provisions that say “taxpayers money will not be used to favour any particular religion”. The Supreme Court in 1993 on a petition from the All India Imam Organisation had directed the Waqf Board to give remuneration to imams in mosques managed by it. The CIC has directed that a copy of his order be sent to the Union Law Minister with suitable action to ensure enforcement of provisions of Articles 25 to 28 of the Constitution in letter and spirit to keep all religions on par in terms of monthly remuneration to priests of different religions at the cost of the public exchequer – both central and states – and also other matters.


A Varanasi court dismissed Anjuman Islamia Masjid committee’s plea challenging the maintainability of a suit to hand over possession of the Gyanvapi Mosque premises to deity Vishweshwar Virajman (Swayambhu). The suit has been filed by deity Vishweshwar Virajman (Swayambhu) through next-friend Kiran Singh, the international general secretary of Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh. The organisation has said that the entire mosque complex must be handed over to the Hindus and the plaintiffs must be allowed to worship the purported shivling found inside the mosque on May 16. The mosque committee has said that structure which the Hindus refer to as a shivling is an ablution tank. The application by the mosque committee was filed under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, which lays down the conditions when certain pleas will be barred. Civil Judge (senior division) Mahendra Kumar Pandey held that the suit filed by Kiran Singh was maintainable. He posted the case for further hearing on December 2.


A judicial probe has been ordered into the death of Muslim youth allegedly in police custody in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. Israel Khan, 30, a resident of Guna district in Madhya Pradesh, was returning home from attending a 3-day religious congregation in the outskirts of the capital city Bhopal. Khan was a daily wage labourer. His uncle Aslam Khan reportedly said that Israel had gone to attend the Bhopal Ijtima (religious congregation) and while on his way home to Guna on November 21, four policemen stopped his taxi and detained him at the Kushmuda police station. “On hearing about his detention, my brother and some of our neighbours went to the police station,” he said. Aslam Khan alleged that he heard shrieks in the police station, which he believes were that of his nephew Israel.  “They were mercilessly beating him,” Aslam said. Aslam said that the policemen told them to reach the Cantt police station. “They were supposed to take Israel there. Later we received a call from police to reach the city hospital,” he said. Khan said the doctor had declared Israel dead when they arrived at the hospital.


An FIR has been registered against Madhya Pradesh BJP media in-charge Lokendra Parashar for allegedly tampering with a video related to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra and sharing the alleged video on social media. The FIR was lodged by advocate Ankit Mishra of Congress Law Department at the Civil Line Police Station in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on November 25. Civil Line City Superintendent of Police (CSP) Virendra Chaturvedi said Mishra had submitted a written application to the police stating that the video was tampered, which hurts the sentiments of the people. Acting on the complaint, the case was registered under Sections 153-A, 504, 505 (1), 505 (2), and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the authorities have started investigation into the matter.


The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has demanded that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stop their “unnecessary interference” in Sikh affairs. In a letter written to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on the foundation day of the apex gurdwara body, its general secretary Gurcharan Singh Grewal said the SGPC came into existence after great sacrifices and the struggle launched for its establishment laid the foundation for the country’s independence. “But sadly, the BJP-ruled Central government and BJP leaders are interfering directly to complicate SGPC affairs. An example of this interference came to fore during the annual election of office-bearers of the SGPC on November 9,” alleged Grewal. Grewal also alleged that the BJP-led Union and Haryana governments and party leaders holding constitutional posts directly interfered in the SGPC election. The SGPC and Shiromani Akali Dal had earlier accused National Commission for Minorities chairman Iqbal Singh Lalpura of interfering in the religious affairs of the Sikh community by trying to “break” the gurdwara body. The SAD had accused Lalpura of seeking support for now expelled leader Bibi Jagir Kaur for the SGPC presidential poll which took place on November 9.


A Dalit electrician from Rajasthan’s Sirohi district was beaten, made to drink urine, and garlanded with shoes for demanding payment for his work, India Today said on November 25, citing police sources. The assault was recorded by one of the attackers even as the man pleaded with them to stop. This video was later shared on social media by the attackers. “A complaint was filed by Bharat Kumar (38) against three people on November 23. Kumar had done some electrical work and generated a bill of Rs 21,100. He was paid Rs 5,000. On November 19, he went to a dhaba in the afternoon to demand the remaining amount. But he was told to come at 9 pm. When he went back around 9:10 pm, he was kept waiting and not paid the money. He then threatened to lodge a police complaint,” Dinesh Kumar, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Sirohi, told India Today TV. “At that, the accused nabbed him along with others and thrashed him. While hitting Kumar, they put a garland of shoes around his neck. One of them made videos and later uploaded them on social media platforms. They assaulted him for nearly five hours,” he said.


Yoga teacher and Patanjali Ayurved’s Ramdev’s indecent remarks on women’s attire has set off a controversy that threatens to turn political. Women, Ramdev said at an event in Maharashtra’s Thane, can look good in anything – saree, salwar kameez or even when they wear nothing. Condemning his comments, Delhi Women’s Commission chief Swati Maliwal said Ramdev should “apologise to the country”. The video of the speech – made by Ramdev on November 25 – was tweeted by Ms Maliwal. On the dais with him was Amruta Fadnavis, the wife of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s son Shrikant Shinde had also attended the programme. Ms Maliwal’s tweet that accompanied the video said, “The remarks made by Swami Ramdev on women in front of the wife of the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra are indecent and condemnable.” The Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray questioned why Mrs Fadnavis did not protest against Ramdev’s comments. Trinamool Congress’s Mahua Moitra also slammed Ramdev’s comment.

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