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Amarnath Yatra: HC dispose of petition challenging formalities for organizing free langer

Amarnath Yatra: HC dispose of petition challenging formalities for organizing free langer

Jammu:  Justice Sanjeev Kumar of Jammu & Kashmir High Court while disposing of the petition challenging formalities for organizing free langer during Amarnath Yatra, observed that the controversy raised by the petitioner can be set at rest by providing that such of the Organizations who have been set up in the year 2020 onwards shall make a representation to the respondent Board for permitting them to run Langar Services without insisting for audited balance sheets for the financial year 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, as a one-time exception.

 

In the petition filed by Shri Amarnath Barfani Langars Organization submitted that the respondents vide circular No.SASB/2020/983 dated 06.08.2020, have seriously impacted the right of the petitioner to form an association and deal with the respondent Board, which is violative of Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India; and that the respondents, in terms of various communications inviting offers dated 19th of January, 2021, has insisted for audited balance sheet of the Langar Organization/NGO signed by Chartered Accountants for the financial year 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, as a result whereof the new NGO/LO has been held disentitled to organize langars.

 

Justice Sanjeev Kumar after hearing Adv Ankur Sharma for the petitioner whereas Advocate Anuj Dewan Raina for the Amarnath Shrine Board observed that Anuj Dewan Raina, counsel for the respondents, has filed objections and is on record to state that the impugned circular is not intended to impose any restriction on the activities of the petitioner association nor it could be construed, by any stretch of reasoning, to be a restriction on the petitioner to form an association. It is submitted that the petitioner association is free to deal with the Board on the issues which affect all the Langer Organizations/NGOs but it has to desist from raising the individual disputes of the Langar Organizations/Samities.

 

Court after hearing both the sides, do not find any illegality or unconstitutionality in the impugned circular.

 

Court further observed that a holistic reading of the circular impugned would make it abundantly clear that the respondent Board has only provided that the individual dispute or grievance of an NGO/Langar Organization shall be raised by the Organization/Samiti concerned and the petitioner association shall not file representations on behalf of such aggrieved Organization/Samiti seeking to organize Langer enroute Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine.

 

Court further observed that the apprehension of the petitioner that it may not be permitted by the respondent Board to take up general causes or grievances which are common to all the Langar Organizations/Samities is not well-founded.

 

To allay such apprehension, Court found it appropriate to clarify that while the petitioner association shall be free to make representation(s) or raise issues which are common to organization of langars enroute Shri Amar Nath Ji shrine. However, it shall be for the concerned Langar Organization/Samiti to raise individual disputes, make grievances or submit representation(s) to the Shrine Board without involving the petitioner association. The role of the petitioner association shall be limited and restricted to dealing with the Shrine Board only on the matters which pertain generally to the common issues of organization of langars by different Langar Organizations/Samities enroute Shri Amar Nath Ji Shrine. This takes care of the first grievance of the petitioner.

 

With regard to the second grievance of the petitioner, it is pointed out that it is true that apart from other terms and conditions set out in the communication inviting offers, the respondent Board has also provided that a Langar Organization/Samiti, to be eligible to run a langar service, shall have to furnish its audited balance sheets duly singed by the Chartered Accountant for the financial year 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

It is the grievance of the petitioner that there are few new Langar Organizations/Samities which have come in existence only in the year 2020 and 2021, who are though willing to provide langar service yet are not in a position to do so in view of Condition No.V, referred to above, prescribed by the respondent Board with regard to the audited balance sheets.

 

Adv Anuj Dewan Raina, appearing for the respondent Board, however, submits that the aforesaid condition has been introduced only with a view to bring in more transparency and to ensure that only genuine and legitimate Langar Organizations/ Samities are permitted to run langar service during Shri Amar Nath Ji yatra.

 

Justice Sanjeev Kumar after given my thoughtful consideration to this aspect of the matter and I am of the view that the controversy raised by the petitioner can be set at rest by providing that such of the Organizations who have been set up in the year 2020 onwards shall make a representation to the respondent Board for permitting them to run Langar Services without insisting for audited balance sheets for the financial year 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, as a one-time exception. Ordered accordingly.

 

Court further said that the respondent Board receive any such representation, the same shall be considered by it on its merits and if such Organization meets all other requirements and the Board is satisfied with regard to its financial position and the credibility, it shall permit such Organization to run langar service without insisting for audited balance sheets for the financial year 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020¬2021, as a onetime exception. JNF

 

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Amarnath Yatra: HC dispose of petition challenging formalities for organizing free langer