Commissioner of Police vs Acharya Jagadishwarananda Avadhuta(2004) 12 SCC 770

Authored By – Kajal Yadav, BIRLA GLOBAL UNIVERSITY
Edited By – Rajarshi Tripathi

CASE DETAILS

Judgement Cause Title / Case Name Commissioner of Police vs Acharya Jagadishwarananda Avadhuta (2004) 12 SCC 770
Case NumberCivil Appeal No. 6230 Of 1990
Judgement Date11 March, 2004
CourtSupreme Court of India
Quorum / Constitution of Bench3 Judge’s Bench
Author / Name of JudgesJustice DR. A.R. Lakshmanam, Justice G.P. Mathur, Justice S. Rajendra Babu
CitationAIR 2004 SUPREME COURT 2984, 2004 (12) SCC 770
Legal Provisions InvolvedConstitution of India, Art 25, 26 and 32, sec 144 of CRPC.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND OF JUDGEMENT

India is a secular country where the state always maintains peace.  State cannot interfere in the religious aspect of any individuals. The case “Commissioner of police vs Acharya Jagadishwarananda Avadhuta” is popularly known as “Tandava Dance case”. It is a quorum of three judges bench the case appeal arises from Calcutta High Court and gives the order to perform Tandava dance in public street with skulls, tridents or live snakes. Police department did not agree with the order because it can harm the public in large. The main issue arises in this case whether Tandava dance is an essential practice of Ananda Margis under art 25 of Indian constitution. Under Art 25 it is clearly stated that any practice which can held in the name of religion abrogates morality, health and public in large.

FACTS OF THE CASE

  1. Procedural Background of the Case
  •  The case of Commissioner of police vs Acharya Jagadishwarananda Avadhuta is  a civil writ petition before the Hon’ble Supreme court of India against the order passed by   Calcutta High court.
  • Ananda Margi sect is founded in 1955 and founder of Ananda Margi sect published in his book in the year 1986 that Tandava Dance is an essential practice since 1966.
  • Based on this information; the petitioner seek permission for the Tandava Dance performance in public from the police. Commissioner of police prohibited the use of live snakes, trident, knives etc.
  • Under Art 32 of Indian Constitution, Civil writ petition no. 1317-18 of 1987 was filled in supreme court by respondent challenging those police refused the order of High court to perform the Tandava Dance with essential ingredients. e. It was alleged that commissioner of police and police department infringed the right of petitioner under Art 25 and Art 26.

      ii)   Factual Background of the Case

  • The founder of Ananda Marga sect has stated that Tandava Dance is an essential practice of the Ananda Margi faith.
  • The petitioner is the member of Ananda Marga sect, that asked for the permission to the commissioner of police for performing Tandava Dance in public street including live snakes, knives, trident or skulls. Tandava is a symbol of death and life. Here skull represents the death and knife represents life.
  • The commissioner of police allowed them to perform the dance, but they not allowed the procession with knives, live snakes or tridents. Then department of police issued certain order under sec 144 of CRPC, which declared this against the public moral. Under Art 226, the petition filed writ petition in High court. Hon’ble High court said respondent to not to interrupt n the matter of Tandava Dance and allowed the petition to precession with knives, snakes or skulls. 
  • Then, under Art 32 commissioner of police appealed before Hon’ble Supreme Court on the decision of the High Court.

      LEGAL ISSUES RAISED

      • Whether Tandava dance is a religious denomination?         
      • Whether Tandava dance in public is an essential practice of Ananda Margi faith?

      PETITIONER/ APPELLANT’S ARGUMENTS

      1. The counsels for Petitioner / Appellant submitted that Ananda Margis did not have any scope under Art 25 because they do not have any well-established practices of festivals like others religion have.
      2. If Ananda Margis did not carry any knife, live snakes or tridents, commissioner of police gives the permission to perform Tandava dance in public. Commissioner of police did not allow the Tandava dance with weapon because it disturbs peace and tranquillity.
      3.  Tandava dance is not an essential practice of Ananda Margis and did not have any scope under Art 25 and Art 26 of the Indian Constitution. Ananda Margis is coming under Hindu religious it has no separate denomination or institution.

      RESPONDENT’S ARGUMENTS

      1. The counsels for Respondent submitted that `Tandava dance is an essential practice of Ananda Margis under Art 25 and Art 26 of the Indian Constitution, then they plead that they have the complete rights to perform the dance in public as well.
      2. Ananda Margis submitted that Art 26 of constitution stated that state can not interfere in the administrative matters and claims it as a separate religious denomination. 

      RELATED LEGAL PROVISIONS

      1. Art 25 of Indian Constitution stated that Freedom of conscience and free profession practice and propagation of religion, which provides the freedom related to public order, health and morality.
      2. Art 26 of Indian Constitution stated that freedom to manage religious affair, which provides every religious denomination to perform their own religious and charitable intent.
      3. Art 32 of Indian Constitution stated that right to constitutional remedies, it gives a Fundamental right to every individual to approach for enforcement of other fundamental rights which is recognized by Constitution.
      4. Sec 144 of CRPC, stated that the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory can issue an order to prohibits the assembly by four or more people in an area

      JUDGEMENT

      RATIO DECIDENDI

      1. After hearing both the parties, court held that Tandava Dance is an essential practice of Ananda Margis. It is itself a part of Hindu religion and did not have any separate denomination.
      2. According to fact Ananda Margis was founded in 1955 and Tandava dance is started from 1966 so it cannot be considered as an essential practice of the religion. But performance of Tandava Dance in public cannot be an essential practice of Ananda Margis.

      CONCLUSION & COMMENTS

      The case Commissioner of Police vs Acharya Jagadishwarananda Avadhuta is a civil writ petition before Hon’ble supreme court of India. It involves the Art 25 and Art 26 of Indian constitution.

      I agree with the judgement that Ananda Margis is come under Hindu religion and did not have any religious denomination and held that performance of Tandava dance in public is not an essential part of it. I agree with the fact that after establishing the Ananda Margi sect, founder added the Tandava dance in their book after 10 years. So, it cannot be an part of basic structure.