The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ruled that the Minimum Wages Act does not apply to temples and mutts
The court stated that there is a distinction between a temple and a mutt in the framework of the A.P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act, 1987.
“A Math is an organization led by a person whose major responsibility is to teach, propagate religious thought, and provide religious training, among other things. A temple, on the other hand, is a building devoted to and utilized as a site of public religious worship “While allowing a writ suit brought by Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt challenging memos directing payment of minimum salaries, Justice DVSS Somayajulu made the observation.
It was argued in court that, while both can be classified as religious institutions, there is a fundamental difference between a Math and a temple, and that in the case of the former, authorities do not have the ability or control to intervene in the operations of a Math under the 1987 Act. The state-supported the letters by citing the equal pay for equal effort concept.
According to the court:
The Commissioner’s general power of supervision, in this Court’s opinion, does not extend to interfering with secular activities and is limited in scope. A reading of section 8 reveals that the power of supervision and control includes the ability to issue an order to guarantee that the institution is effectively administered and that the money is spent for the purpose for which it was established. The conjunction “and” makes it clear that the goal of this power under section 8 (1) is to ensure that monies be solely used for the reasons for which they were intended. Section 8(2), which begins with a non-obstante phrase, also refers to the exercise of powers “conferred on him, or the functions that the Act “entitles” him to.
There is no statutory provision that shows the Court that; this particular power to provide directives to pay minimum wages, etc., exists. Finally, this Court believes that when section 8(1) and section 49 of the Act are read together; the Commissioner’s limited powers become evident. They are restricted to the repair, expenditure, and exploitation of the “Only dittam. If there is a disagreement, the case must be taken to a court for resolution (Section 49-Proviso). Similarly, the changes to sections 51-53, etc., where the Commissioner has been replaced by the “Dharmika Parishad,” make it obvious that the Commissioner’s role is limited.”
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