Estd. 3rd April, 1899

Jain Legal Cell

In the year 1947 on 15th august this country, India, become independent and at the same time there was partition and Pakistan was created. At that time in our country therewer in all 7 religious communities living in india and they were (1) Hindu (2) Muslim (3) Sheikh (4) Jain (5) Budh (6) Christen and (7) Parsi. The relations between these communities were not secure. This was the difficult problem in the mind of main constitution framers specially in the mind of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. This insecurity among these religious communities was upper most in their minds while drafting the Constitution of India. For this purpose, articles 12 to 30 were mentioned as fundamental rights of the citizens.

This constitution specially mentioned in the preamble that the india accepts sovereign socialist secular democracy which indicates that all the religious communities were given full security. This was necessary because having accepted democracy i.e. majority rule the minority religious communities had been given protective umbrella to them.

In the chapter of fundamental rights, articles 25 to 30 were specially included for full protection of the minority religious communities for getting their full development and progress in social, cultural, religious, economics and educational affairs. Article 25 specially mentioned that buddh, sikh & Jain are independent religious communities. In that article 25 there was some wording creating suspicion about the independence of these religions. In that behalf, the leaders of Jain community met the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru when the prime minister specifically told that Jain religion was equally independent along with buddh and shikh and they should not fear at all because the beginning wording of the article mentioned these three religions were independent. In this behalf, prime minister secretry issued a letter dt.31.1.1950 no.33/94/50 paa.M.S. thereafter temple entry Act was passed to enable schedule cast persons to entre Hindu temples. This created misunderstanding in some schedule cast persons in Solapur district and they intended to enter in the Jain temples. At that time p.p.108 shri. Shantisagarji Maharaj brought this position to the leaders of Jain community who filed writ petition in the Bombay high court and in that matter the Division Bench of the High Court of chief Justice Chagala & Gajendra gadkar gave clear decision that Jain religion is an independent religion and the Act gave right to schedule cast persons to entre in to the temples of Hindu religion only.

This decision has been accepted by some other High Courts also and therefore there was never any doubt that Jain religion was an independent religion.

Even though these articles in the constitution gave full protection to every minority religious community, it was very difficult for going to the High Court or to the Supreme Court in case there was any injustice caused to the minority religious community by the majority religious community for getting relief requiring long time. In this behalf in the year 1990 for the first time the united nations had issued order to all the member countries to enact independent law for protection of the minority religious communities. Thereafter as per that direction the central government of India passed The National Minority Commission Act 1992. Unfortunately in that Act there was no mention as to which are the minority religious communities and thereafter in the year 1993 under section 2 (e) of that Act the central government issued notification mentioning only five religious communities namely (1) Muslim (2) Buddh (3) Shikh (4) Parsi and (5) Isai as minority religious communities and for the first time they caused great injustice on the Jain religious community, by omitting to mention Jain religious community as such minority community.

At that time Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha (here in after Called D.B.J.S.) having branches such as veer seva dal, Mahila Mandal etc. had already become most active for the welfare of the Jain community in the southern states of India, became aware of this great injustice caused by the central Government and their central Body committee members held discussions and decided to start peaceful agitation. They held meetings at different towns in their area and passing strong resolutions for granting Minority Religious status to the Jain Community on all India basis by the Central Government. They submitted those resolutions to the concerned Minister & secretary of that department. This problem was also agitated through media for the period of three years with the help of newspapers correspondents. On receiving one such resolution the National Minority Commission formed under that Act twice requested the Central Government to issue necessary notification granting Minority Religeous status to the Jain Community. There was no response what so ever from the Central Government in that behalf.

Under these circumstances the D.B.J.S. then took the decision to take necessary legal actions in the matter, at that time the then president Shri. B.B.Patil of Kolhapur and other members of the executive body decided to form a separate legal cell branch of the D.B.J.S. and appointed shri. Bal Patil as its chairman and other three members namely (1) Shri. Bapusaheb Borgave (2) Shri. C.T.Patil, Retd. Judicial officer & (3) Shri. Dhanpal Herwade the then most active secretary of the D.B.J.S. with the confidence that they would right the matter successfully.

There upon the first writ petition was filled in the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay by the D.B.J.S. by its convener Shri. Bal Patil against the Central Government and others. That petition was decided on 20.10.1997 by the division Bench directing Central Government to take decision in the matter & issuing necessary modification giving minority Status to the Jains. No action was taken and there after second writ petition was filed in the same High Court & there upon the advocate on behalf Central Government took several objections including the objection that this question is before the 11-member Bench of the Supreme Court which will take some time & therefore on that ground the petition was dismissed. The D.B.J.S. then filed appeal in the supreme Court which was also dismissed on the same ground even though this question as not before the 11-member bench. Thereafter the D.B.J.S. filed second appeal in the supreme Court after the decision of the case before 11-member Bench which had held that the question of granting Minority status to the Jain Community was not before that Bench. The two-member Bench therefore directed the Central Government to grant Minority Religious Status to the Jain Community within 6 months. No action was taken & when that matter came up for final hearing after 6 months the Adv. On behalf of Central Government urged that in the decision of 11-member Bench it was held that each state in India had the power to grant Minority Status and therefore the Central Government may take this decision only after states had allowed Minority status to the Jain Community. This was wrong because in the Act under section the central Govt was authorized to grant such status. They further went on making wrong observations & went the extent of giving direction to the Central Government to dismiss the said Minority Commission Act itself because more than 50 years had passed after the independents. Against this decision the D.B.J.S. filed special application in the same Supreme Court against that decision which was pending before the court.

In the meantime, more than eleven status had granted Jain religious community minority status including the state of Uttar Pradesh and the matter was under consideration of other states. The main members of the executive body of D.B.J.S. and the Legal Cell members submitted a representation before the then cabinet minister Hon. Antulay praying for Cabinet decision to grant the status to the Jain Community as has been observed in the decision that the central Govt. should consider the subject after the states had allowed suck status. At that time it was informed that the cabinet had made a note in this behalf as “the question should not be raised in the cabinet until any matter is pending before the supreme court.” The D.B.J.S. was unable to withdraw the pending matter unless the cabinet assured that they would grant the status on such withdrawal.

In the meantime, unfortunately Mr. Bal Patil who was mainly taking all these actions with the help of other members of Legal Cell expired and Shri. D.A. Patil Chairman of the D.B.J.S. took charge as the conveyor in the Legal Cell and became most active in the matter. In the meantime, all India Jain Institutions came together and joined in the efforts of the D.B.J.S. by framing co-ordination committee at Delhi. At this time, it is necessary to mention that shri. Chakreshji Jain at Delhi gave immense help to the D.B.J.S. and Legal Cell members providing all facilities and payment of all fees of the Advocates engaged.

Recently main members of the co-ordination committee including shri. Chakreshji Jain and Nirmal Shethi Jain, Hon’ble Minister Pradip Jain, Hon’ble Minister shri. Pratik Patil, Member of Marlment shri. Raju Shetty, Ex.M.P. Shri. Awade dada with the help of Hon’ble cabinate Minister Shri. Kapil Sibbal succeded in convencing the congress president Smt. Soniya Gandhi Vice president Shri. Rahul Gandhi that they should advise the Central Government Cabinet to issue necessary notification and the cabinet on their request took decision of granting Minority religious status to the Jain Community and as a result the necessary Notification was issued on 27.01.2014 and thus the Legal Cell has become completely successful in this behalf.

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Jain Legal Cell
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