Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Ram Temple trust
What to study?
For Prelims: About the Ayodhya verdict and the trust- functions.
For Mains: Issues, concerns and ways to address them.
Context: A 15-member trust to oversee the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya has been constituted.
The announcement of a “broad scheme” for developing a Ram Temple and formation of a Trust named ‘Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra’ was made by the prime minister.
Composition: There will be a total of 15 members in the trust — 9 permanent and 6 nominated members.
The government has made nine rules which will be the basis of how the trust will work:
- The permanent office of the Trust will be discussed in the first meeting of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra.
- Trust will be completely free to take every decision related to the construction of Ram temple. It will also have to arrange all facilities for devotees such as kitchen, gaushala, museum and sarai.
- Trustees can legally accept donations, grants, immovable property and assistance from any person, an institution for facilities and temple construction. Apart from this, the trust can also take a loan.
- The board of trustees will appoint one trustee as president-managing trustee, who will preside over meetings. At the same time, the general secretary and treasurer will also be appointed.
- The trust will decide on investment for existing funds for the construction of Ram temple. Investment for the temple will be in the name of the trust.
- The donations received for the Ram temple will be used only for the work of the trust. This money will not be used for any other work.
- Trustees will not have the right to sell immovable property associated with Ram Mandir trust.
- Trust will have to keep account of donations and expenses received for Ram Temple. Balance sheets will be created and trust’s accounts will be audited.
- There is no provision of salary for the members of the Ram Mandir trust, but the expenses incurred during the journey will be paid by the trust.
This comes in the wake of the Supreme Court, in its judgement on the dispute, asking the Union government to form a trust that can look at the construction and management of the temple.
Why a trust?
One of the five suits before the court in the Babri Masjid case was in the name of the deity itself, Sri Ram Lalla Virajman, and of the birthplace, Asthan Shri Ram Janmabhoomi. This suit was founded on the claim that the law recognises both the idol and the birthplace as juridical entities. The court did not accept the Janmasthan as a juridical entity.
It awarded the title of the land to Ram Lalla, to be held by the Trust that the Court said should be set up within three months. This Trust is the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra.
What did the Supreme Court say about the Trust?
When the Supreme Court delivered its judgment on November 9, 2019, it directed the Centre to formulate within three months a scheme to set up a “Trust with a Board of Trustees or any other appropriate body” under The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993, with powers “including the construction of a temple”.
The court used its powers under Article 142 to direct that “appropriate representation may be given in the Trust to the Nirmohi Akhara”.
The Court also said that the scheme to be framed by the Centre should make “necessary provisions” about the functioning of the Trust or the body, including on matters relating to its management, the powers of the trustees “including the construction of a temple and all necessary, incidental and supplemental matters”.
Furthermore, this Trust will get the possession of the inner and outer courtyards along with the rest of the acquired land, which will be managed and developed by the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra.
Under the Ayodhya law, the government would transfer the authorized land, which is nearly 67.703 acres and of which the inner and outer courtyard is a part, to the newly constituted Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra.
Sources: the Hindu.