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Temples In Bihar Will Have To Pay 4% Tax – Free PDF Download

What has happened?

  • Temples in Bihar will have to get themselves registered and pay taxes.
  • The decision taken by the Bihar State Board of Religious Trust has invited sharp reactions from right-wing activists and devotees.
  • Temples built by individuals in their residential premises and open for the public will also come under the ambit of this new diktat.
  • The trust has fixed the tax at four per cent.

Private Vs Public temple

  • As per the media report, if a temple is situated within the boundary wall of a house and family members offer prayers there then it will be considered a private or personal temple.
  • However, if a temple is outside the boundary wall of a house or a house where more than one family worships and makes offerings, then it will be considered public.
  • The rule mandates every public temple to get itself registered and once registration is complete, a tax at four per cent of the total income has to be paid.
  • The imposition of service charge on temples has infuriated devotees as there are several temples built within residential premises.
  • Congress and AIMIM have blasted the Nitish Kumar government for the decision.

Is it a new law by Bihar govt?

  • The notice which was circulated last week is based on the provisions of the Bihar Hindu Religious Trusts Act, 1950, as amended in 2007.
  • The Board cited the low percentage of temples abiding by the taxation law as reason for the recirculation.
  • “We have only recycled an old rule,” said Bihar State Board of Religious Trusts Chairman Akhilesh Jain.
  • He added: “There are around 4,600 temples registered under the Board. Unfortunately the number of Temples paying the tax will number less than 300. The money received as tax is also used to renovate crumbling temples.”
  • Referring to the 2007 amendment to the Act, former chairman of the Board, Acharya Kishor Kunal, told that “in 2007 I increased the administrative cost of the temple from 12.5% to 20%. Since this is non-taxable, so for every Rs 100 given to a temple, only Rs 80 became taxable.”
  • Highlighting that the extent of property owned by temples varied, Kunal claimed that that while there are temples which are financially incapable of paying the tax,
  • There were many that received huge donations, and yet do not pay the four per cent tax.
  • Bihar law minister Pramod Kumar, secretary of Patna’s Mahavir Mandir, which runs several charitable hospitals in the city, said the temple also pays Rs 75 lakh as tax to the Board every year.
  • Referring to the Bihar government’s announcement on ownership of temple land, Kumar had told the media last week that,
  • “There are more than 36,000 acres of land owned by temples in Bihar. There are many cases of this land being sold to gullible buyers.”
  • The law minister had added that that temple land has to be made accountable and safeguarded from illegal transactions.
  • According to informed sources in the Bihar government, the state has already written to all district magistrates to identify land owned by temples and maths and get them registered under the Board.

Voices against this move

  • The announcement by the Bihar government was greeted by stiff opposition by an association of priests in the state.
  • The priests had threatened to take to the streets in protest unless the announcement was withdrawn, and demanded that temple land be owned by priests.
  • And while party in opposition, RJD, has largely remained silent on the subject, leaders in the BJP — a senior partner in the NDA government in Bihar led by Nitish Kumar of JD(U) — have not only criticisied government interference in temple matters, but also asked why only temples were being taxed.
  • BJP members in the state are questioning why mosques and madrasas too shouldn’t be taxed.
  • The issue was, however, not raised in the winter session of the Bihar assembly which concluded Friday, and a BJP MLA told that,
  • The party’s central leadership had asked the BJP in Bihar to endorse steps taken by the state government.
  • Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust member Kameshwar Chaupal lashed out at the state government for the new taxation policy in the name service charge and equated it to Jizya tax.
  • Mughal emperors levied Jizya on non-Muslim citizens of the territory in lieu of military service.
  • While Akbar abolished it in 1579, Aurangzeb decided to re-impose ‘Jizya’ on non-Muslim subjects in 1679.

conclusion

  • Tulsayan Saigal, Assistant Superintendent of Bihar State Board of Religious Trusts said that it is not a tax but an annual service charge.

Q) Which one of the following categories of Fundamental Rights incorporates protection against untouchability form of discrimination?

  1. Right against Exploitation
  2. Right to Freedom
  3. Right to Constitutional Remedies
  4. Right to Equality

 

 

 

 

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