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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sharing of Nazrana offered by pilgrims between Diwans and Khadims of Holi shrine Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer - decree was passed in a civil suit O.S. 9/1929 - At the request of both parties , High court framed some interim guidelines for implementation of Decree by appointing a Nizam with the approval of Durga Committee, pending final adjudication of these cases - Khadims raised objections in respect of some arrangements-Apex court confirmed the High court order the modifications, if any, required can be examined later when the matter is finally adjudicated and dismissed the appeal = Syed Gulzar Hussain & Others .. Petitioners Versus Dewan Syed Ale Rasul Ali Khan & Others .. Respondents= 2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41240

     Sharing of Nazrana offered by pilgrims between Diwans and Khadims of Holi shrine Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer - decree was passed in a civil suit O.S. 9/1929 - At the request of both parties, High court framed some  interim guidelines for implementation of Decree by appointing a Nizam with the approval of Durga Committee, pending  final adjudication of these cases Khadims raised objections in respect of some arrangements-Apex court confirmed the High court order  the modifications, if any, required  can  be examined later when the  matter  is  finally adjudicated and dismissed the appeal =

Noticing the various directions contained in the decree, as  well  as
the judgment of this Court and also  taking  note  of  the  request  of  the
Khadims  themselves,  the  High  Court  thought  of  making  some   suitable
arrangements for the purpose of implementing  the  decree.    
The  following
are the directions given by the High Court:
        i) As regards the adjudication of  the  rights  contained  in  para
           A(ii), it is  directed  that  the  Nazim  on  behalf  of  Durgah
           Committee shall take the custody of the offerings or presents of
           gold or silver vessels or implements or kabarposhes that may  be
           offered by the visitors/pilgrims for the  use  of  Durgah.   The
           Nazim or his representative shall remain present inside the dome
           of the shrine to collect such offerings and presents.   In case,
           the Khadims/judgment debtors receive such offerings or  presents
           from the visitors/pilgrims, they shall deposit the same  in  the
           office of the Nazim at the end of the day.  It  is  needless  to
           say  that  the  office  of  the  Nazim  shall  maintain  regular
           accounts/records of such offerings/presents, and  keep  in  safe
           custody till any decision is taken by the Durgah  Committee  for
           their disposal/use;
       ii) As regards the declaration of rights contained  in  para  A(iii)
           and (iv), it is directed that there shall be kept iron boxes for
           donations, big and sufficient in  number,  at  different  places
           inside and outside the dome of the shrine, more particularly  at
           the  pit  near  the  grave  inside  the  dome,  to  enable   the
           visitors/pilgrims to put their cash/valuable offerings  in  such
           boxes.  Such boxes shall have the locks  and  the  keys  thereof
           would be kept in the custody of the Nazim;
      iii) The Nazim shall hand over all the offerings  deposited  in  such
           boxes kept outside the dome of the  shrine  to  the  Khadims  as
           their perquisites.  However, the offerings of  animals  or  such
           bulky articles made at the steps of the shrine shall be  divided
           by the Nazim between the Dewan and the  Khadim  respectively  in
           equal shares, at the end of the day.  The Nazim in  consultation
           with the Durgah Committee shall make necessary  arrangement  for
           collection of such bulky articles at the gates/entrances of  the
           shrine and Durgah;
       iv) So far as the offerings deposited in  the  donation  boxes  kept
           inside the dome of the shrine are concerned, the Nazim,  at  the
           end  of  the  day,  shall  maintain  accounts  and  divide  such
           offerings between the Dewan  and  the  Khadims  respectively  in
           equal shares, irrespective  of  the  spot  at  which  they  were
           deposited within the dome.  Nazim may distribute such  offerings
           on daily/weekly/ monthly basis after keeping proper accounts, in
           presence of the representatives of the Khadims  and  the  Dewan.
           However, the Nazim shall hand over to the Khadims, the offerings
           of all coins not exceeding two annas in  value  irrespective  of
           whether they are made of copper or any other metal  and  cowries
           and gold or silver articles (other than coins), of a value  less
           than 8 annas and cotton  cloth  of  inferior  quality,  and  all
           offerings made between the hours of 4 A.M. to 4 P.M. on the last
           day of the Urs, as directed  in  the  para  A(iv)  of  the  said
           decree;
        v) It is directed that the Nazim shall  treat  the  cash  or  other
           offerings sent by post as the offerings made at the shrine  i.e.
           within the  dome,  unless  addressed  specially  to  the  Durgah
           Committee, the Dewan or the Khadims for their exclusive use,  as
           directed in Para A(v) of the said decree;
       vi) It is  further  directed  that  the  Khadims,  their  agents  or
           servants shall not cause any obstruction either to the Nazim  or
           his representative, or the judgment creditor, the Dewan  or  his
           representative, or any Member of the Durgah Committee  to  enter
           and sit inside/outside the dome of the shrine or  the  precincts
           of the Durgah, and shall cooperate the Nazim in implementing the
           directions given by this Court;
      vii) The Nazim shall display notice boards in Hindi, English and Urdu
           languages, at all  gates  of  Durgah  and  at  all  visible  and
           conspicuous places inside and outside the dome  of  the  shrine,
           giving   instructions   to   the   visitors/pilgrims   to    put
           cash/valuable offerings in the donation boxes only  and  deposit
           their other offerings like  kabarposhes,  gold/silver  articles,
           implements, animals at the office of Nazim only.
     viii) It is clarified that the Khadims  –  judgment  debtors  and  the
           Dewan – the judgment creditor shall be at liberty to keep  their
           duly authorized representatives, present on their behalf at  the
           time when the donation boxes are opened, and  their  shares  are
           divided by the Nazim.  The Nazim also shall  be  at  liberty  to
           nominate any  other  person  as  his  representative,  with  the
           consultation of the Members of  the  Durgah  Committee  for  the
           purpose of  carrying  out  these  directions,  in  case  of  his
           inability to remain present on any particular day.
       ix) The Nazim shall be at liberty to approach this Court in case  of
           any  difficulty  found  in   implementing   the   above   stated
           directions;
        x) The Nazim shall be also at liberty to take  help  of  the  staff
           members and in case of need, help of police.”

4.     Shri  C.A.  Sundaram,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for   the
petitioners, submitted that the petitioners have no serious  objection  with
regard to direction nos. (i), (v) and (vi), but raised some objections  with
regard to direction nos. (ii), (iii), (iv) (vii) and (viii).
A pilgrim may give some amount directly either  to  Dewan
or Khadim for his satisfaction if they are offering a special prayer on  his
behalf, which is  altogether  a  different  aspect.    
Necessity  of  proper
accounting and transparency in the entire functioning of  Durgah  is  highly
necessary in the  larger  public  interest  with  regard  to  entire  amount
received at the Shrine, whether it is inside or outside  the  dome  or  even
the amount directly paid to the Khadims  at  the  Shrine.   Khadims,  it  is
stated, have to share also with the Dewan the amounts they get, hence  there
is a necessity of the intervention of the Durgah Committee  for  the  smooth
and effective functioning of the Shrine,  or  else,  constant  disputes  may
crop up between both the groups, which is not in the best  interest  of  the
Holy Shrine.

9.    In such circumstances, at this stage, we do not propose  to  make  any
modification in the directions already given by the  High  Court.   Let  the
directions given by the  High  Court  be  given  effect  to,  pending  final
adjudication of these cases and the modifications, if any, required  can  be
examined later when the  matter  is  finally  adjudicated.   The  status-quo
order passed by this Court is accordingly vacated.



2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41240
               K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, VIKRAMAJIT SEN                                            

                                                 NON-REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 36921 OF 2013

Syed Gulzar Hussain & Others            .. Petitioners
                                   Versus
Dewan Syed Ale Rasul Ali Khan & Others  .. Respondents
                                    WITH
              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 36923 OF 2013
                                     AND
               SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO.36953 OF 2013

                                  O R D E R

K. S. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.

1.    We are, in these cases, primarily concerned with the resolution  of  a
dispute between the Dewan Sajjadanashin and Khadims of the  Holy  Shrine  of
Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer with  regard  to  the  sharing  of
Nazrana offered by the  pilgrims  visiting  the  Holy  Shrine.
Petitioners
submit that the High Court, while  deciding  the  above  issue,  practically
framed a Scheme for the implementation of the final  decree  dated  3.5.1933
(as amended on 29.1.1940) in  Civil  Suit  No.  9  of  1929  passed  by  the
Additional District Judge, Ajmer-Merwana,  Ajmer  which,  according  to  the
petitioners, was not warranted and beyond the scope of the decree.

2.    Petitioners, who claim to represent the entire group  of  Khadims,  it
is seen from the order impugned, themselves wanted the Court  to  make  some
suitable and permanent arrangement  for  the  purpose  of  implementing  the
decree.
Due to the long standing disputes between these two  factions  with
regard to sharing of Nazrana,
in fact, a proposal was mooted  to  appoint  a
Receiver, which the Executing Court as well  as  the  High  Court  felt,  it
would not be in the best interest of all concerned  and  thought  of  making
some interim arrangement with the  junction  of  Durgah  Committee,  a  body
constituted under Section 4 of the  Dargah  Khwaja  Saheb  Act,  1955.
The
powers and duties of the Durgah Committee have been  enunciated  in  Section
11 of the Act.  The functions and duties of Khadims also  find  a  place  in
the bye-law  no.  13  framed  vide  notification  dated  16.10.1958  by  the
Committee in exercise of its powers conferred under Section 20 of the Act.

3.    The Durgah of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, as  already  indicated,
is a holy Shrine where, every day, a large number of pilgrims/visitors  from
the country and outside, visit and offer their prayers and pay donations  in
the form of cash, kabarposh, implements, animals etc.  at  different  places
of Durgah for various religious purposes.  Every day,  certain  rituals  are
also performed by Khadims within the Dome of the Shrine  at  the  beginning,
to the end and during the course of the day.  The  decree  passed  in  Civil
Suit No. 9 of 1929 also  recognizes  the  rights  of  Dewan  in  respect  of
offerings made at the Durgah, the details of  which  have  elaborately  been
dealt with in the  impugned  order  itself  and  hence  not  repeated.
The
history of the Holy Shrine as well as the rights of  the  Durgah  Committee,
Khadims and Dewan have  also  been  dealt  with  by  this  Court  in  Durgah
Committee, Ajmer and Another v. Syed Hussain Ali  and  Others  AIR  1961  SC
1402.  
Noticing the various directions contained in the decree, as  well  as
the judgment of this Court and also  taking  note  of  the  request  of  the
Khadims  themselves,  the  High  Court  thought  of  making  some   suitable
arrangements for the purpose of implementing  the  decree.    
The  following
are the directions given by the High Court:
        i) As regards the adjudication of  the  rights  contained  in  para
           A(ii), it is  directed  that  the  Nazim  on  behalf  of  Durgah
           Committee shall take the custody of the offerings or presents of
           gold or silver vessels or implements or kabarposhes that may  be
           offered by the visitors/pilgrims for the  use  of  Durgah.   The
           Nazim or his representative shall remain present inside the dome
           of the shrine to collect such offerings and presents.   In case,
           the Khadims/judgment debtors receive such offerings or  presents
           from the visitors/pilgrims, they shall deposit the same  in  the
           office of the Nazim at the end of the day.  It  is  needless  to
           say  that  the  office  of  the  Nazim  shall  maintain  regular
           accounts/records of such offerings/presents, and  keep  in  safe
           custody till any decision is taken by the Durgah  Committee  for
           their disposal/use;
       ii) As regards the declaration of rights contained  in  para  A(iii)
           and (iv), it is directed that there shall be kept iron boxes for
           donations, big and sufficient in  number,  at  different  places
           inside and outside the dome of the shrine, more particularly  at
           the  pit  near  the  grave  inside  the  dome,  to  enable   the
           visitors/pilgrims to put their cash/valuable offerings  in  such
           boxes.  Such boxes shall have the locks  and  the  keys  thereof
           would be kept in the custody of the Nazim;
      iii) The Nazim shall hand over all the offerings  deposited  in  such
           boxes kept outside the dome of the  shrine  to  the  Khadims  as
           their perquisites.  However, the offerings of  animals  or  such
           bulky articles made at the steps of the shrine shall be  divided
           by the Nazim between the Dewan and the  Khadim  respectively  in
           equal shares, at the end of the day.  The Nazim in  consultation
           with the Durgah Committee shall make necessary  arrangement  for
           collection of such bulky articles at the gates/entrances of  the
           shrine and Durgah;
       iv) So far as the offerings deposited in  the  donation  boxes  kept
           inside the dome of the shrine are concerned, the Nazim,  at  the
           end  of  the  day,  shall  maintain  accounts  and  divide  such
           offerings between the Dewan  and  the  Khadims  respectively  in
           equal shares, irrespective  of  the  spot  at  which  they  were
           deposited within the dome.  Nazim may distribute such  offerings
           on daily/weekly/ monthly basis after keeping proper accounts, in
           presence of the representatives of the Khadims  and  the  Dewan.
           However, the Nazim shall hand over to the Khadims, the offerings
           of all coins not exceeding two annas in  value  irrespective  of
           whether they are made of copper or any other metal  and  cowries
           and gold or silver articles (other than coins), of a value  less
           than 8 annas and cotton  cloth  of  inferior  quality,  and  all
           offerings made between the hours of 4 A.M. to 4 P.M. on the last
           day of the Urs, as directed  in  the  para  A(iv)  of  the  said
           decree;
        v) It is directed that the Nazim shall  treat  the  cash  or  other
           offerings sent by post as the offerings made at the shrine  i.e.
           within the  dome,  unless  addressed  specially  to  the  Durgah
           Committee, the Dewan or the Khadims for their exclusive use,  as
           directed in Para A(v) of the said decree;
       vi) It is  further  directed  that  the  Khadims,  their  agents  or
           servants shall not cause any obstruction either to the Nazim  or
           his representative, or the judgment creditor, the Dewan  or  his
           representative, or any Member of the Durgah Committee  to  enter
           and sit inside/outside the dome of the shrine or  the  precincts
           of the Durgah, and shall cooperate the Nazim in implementing the
           directions given by this Court;
      vii) The Nazim shall display notice boards in Hindi, English and Urdu
           languages, at all  gates  of  Durgah  and  at  all  visible  and
           conspicuous places inside and outside the dome  of  the  shrine,
           giving   instructions   to   the   visitors/pilgrims   to    put
           cash/valuable offerings in the donation boxes only  and  deposit
           their other offerings like  kabarposhes,  gold/silver  articles,
           implements, animals at the office of Nazim only.
     viii) It is clarified that the Khadims  –  judgment  debtors  and  the
           Dewan – the judgment creditor shall be at liberty to keep  their
           duly authorized representatives, present on their behalf at  the
           time when the donation boxes are opened, and  their  shares  are
           divided by the Nazim.  The Nazim also shall  be  at  liberty  to
           nominate any  other  person  as  his  representative,  with  the
           consultation of the Members of  the  Durgah  Committee  for  the
           purpose of  carrying  out  these  directions,  in  case  of  his
           inability to remain present on any particular day.
       ix) The Nazim shall be at liberty to approach this Court in case  of
           any  difficulty  found  in   implementing   the   above   stated
           directions;
        x) The Nazim shall be also at liberty to take  help  of  the  staff
           members and in case of need, help of police.”

4.     Shri  C.A.  Sundaram,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for   the
petitioners, submitted that the petitioners have no serious  objection  with
regard to direction nos. (i), (v) and (vi), but raised some objections  with
regard to direction nos. (ii), (iii), (iv) (vii) and (viii).

5.    Shri F. S. Nariman, learned senior counsel appearing  for  the  Dewan,
submitted that the direction given by the High Court  is  an  equitable  one
taking care of the interest of Khadims as well as Dewan  and  calls  for  no
interference at this stage.

6.    Shri Guru Krishnakumar,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
Durgah  Committee,  also  took  the  same  stand  and  submitted  that   the
directions have been issued taking note of the interest  of  Khadims,  Dewan
as well as the overall interest of the pilgrims who visit the Holy Shrine.

7.    We are of the view that, in a situation  like  this,  the  Court  will
have to take note of the overall interests of the Khadims, Dewan and  Durgah
Committee, with the pilgrims at its central stage.  All the  Khadims,  Dewan
and Durgah Committee, have got moral and legal  obligation  to  account  for
the offerings made at the Holy Shrine, whether it is inside or  outside  the
dome.  The Holy Durgah at Ajmer is one  of  the  most  important  places  of
pilgrimage for the Muslims of India and persons  following  other  religions
also hold the saint in great veneration and a large  number  of  non-Muslims
visit the Durgah every year from the country as well as outside.   The  main
objection raised by the petitioners is that some of the directions given  by
the High Court are not workable in the sense, if the donations  due  to  the
Khadims are put in boxes, then it would not be possible for the  Khadims  to
find out, to which Khadim the pilgrims have given  a  particular  amount  by
way of donation for doing special offerings on their  behalf.   Further,  it
was pointed out that it is a customary practice that the  pilgrims  directly
handover the amount in the hands of the Khadims,  which  the  Khadims  would
share with Dewan, for which, it was stated by  the  learned  senior  counsel
appearing for the petitioners, that they will keep  separate  accounts  and,
if necessary, in the presence of the Durgah Committee.

8.    We may indicate that a  pilgrim  who  goes  to  the  Durgah  and  make
donation, may be totally unaware as to how the  donation  is  being  divided
between Khadims and Dewan.   Normally, a pilgrim who makes  an  offering  or
makes any donation, expects the same to  go  to  the  Holy  Shrine  and  its
development and maintenance, not for the individual benefit  of  either  the
Khadim or Dewan.   
A pilgrim may give some amount directly either  to  Dewan
or Khadim for his satisfaction if they are offering a special prayer on  his
behalf, which is  altogether  a  different  aspect.    
Necessity  of  proper
accounting and transparency in the entire functioning of  Durgah  is  highly
necessary in the  larger  public  interest  with  regard  to  entire  amount
received at the Shrine, whether it is inside or outside  the  dome  or  even
the amount directly paid to the Khadims  at  the  Shrine.   Khadims,  it  is
stated, have to share also with the Dewan the amounts they get, hence  there
is a necessity of the intervention of the Durgah Committee  for  the  smooth
and effective functioning of the Shrine,  or  else,  constant  disputes  may
crop up between both the groups, which is not in the best  interest  of  the
Holy Shrine.

9.    In such circumstances, at this stage, we do not propose  to  make  any
modification in the directions already given by the  High  Court.   Let  the
directions given by the  High  Court  be  given  effect  to,  pending  final
adjudication of these cases and the modifications, if any, required  can  be
examined later when the  matter  is  finally  adjudicated.   The  status-quo
order passed by this Court is accordingly vacated.






                                       eard Hear…………………………J.
                                       (K. S. Radhakrishnan)




                                       .….……………………J.
                                       (Vikramajit Sen)
New Delhi,
February 20, 2014.

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