Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi had challenged the Gujarat government’s decision to redevelop the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad in a petition filed with the Supreme Court on Friday.
Observing that the High Court should not have summarily dismissed the petition, a bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant restored the matter to the High Court for a decision on merits.
On November 20, 2021, Gandhi filed a special leave petition challenging the High Court’s order dismissing the matter summarily, noting that it could not be considered under Article 226 of the Constitution.
According to Gandhi’s petition, the redevelopment work should happen under the domain of the trusts – National Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, Khadi Gramodyog Prayog Samiti, Harijan Ashram Trust, Sabarmati Ashram Goshala Trust, Harijan Sevak Sangh – who were arrayed as respondents 2 to 7 in the petition.
However, the Supreme Court observed that instead of dismissing the petition immediately, it would have been appropriate for the High Court to decide on the issue. Allowing Gandhi’s appeal, the Court set aside the Gujarat High Court’s judgment and passed upon the matter to the High Court for a decision on the merits. The Court clarified that it has not expressed anything on the merits of the matter and that all contentions are left open.
The Bench noticed that both Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, showing up for the candidate and Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, showing up for the State of Gujarat, concurred that the matter can be sent back to the High Court.
Today in the hearing, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising presented that the High Court should not to have excused the matter in a synopsis way.
The Bench, thinking about the way that the High Court had discarded the matter with no counter from the contrary side, proposed consigning the matter back to the High Court.
Showing up for the State, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta named the appeal under the steady gaze of the High Court and Supreme Court to be founded on unconfirmed misgivings. He added that, taking everything into account, the goal was to hold, safeguard and save the holiness of Mahatma Gandhi.
“The legacy of Mahatma Gandhi should be retained, protected, preserved with the same sanctity. The entire petition before the HC and before your lordships is based on unverified apprehensions”, submitted Mr Mehta.
SG Mehta added that the region including Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram was just 5 sections of land yet the genuine ashram land was 300 sections of land. It was likewise his conflict that the 5-section of land was not to be contacted but rather just the 2/3 structures that were flimsy required recreation.
Mehta additionally presented that there were infringements that were expected to be eliminated.
“Mr Mehta, place this on record before the HC. Let the High Court be apprised,” remarked Justice Chandrachud.
SG Mehta at this juncture sought time to respond till Monday. On SG seeking time, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising said, “If your lordships are giving him time, then I want to say that we
SG Mehta at this point looked for time to answer till Monday. On SG seeking time, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising said, “If your lordships are giving him time, then I want to say that we are concerned with the entire 300 acres here.”
“We are not commenting on the merits. We’re looking at the judgment of the HC. Since HC has dismissed the plea summarily without an affidavit from the government, we’ll set aside the order of the High Court without expressing any opinion. We’ll leave it to the HC to take an appropriate view after hearing the parties,” the bench suggested juncture.
While calling the bench’s suggestion as, “fair”, Senior Counsel further said, “Fairway of dealing with the matter. The Real problem is that petition was disposed of without the affidavit from the other side”.
At SG’s solicitation, the seat consented to take up the matter at 2:00 PM.
At the point when the matter was taken up at 2:00 PM, the Solicitor General consented to the idea that the matter is sent back to the High Court for a choice on merits. Jaising mentioned that the High Court be mentioned to hear the matter on a really important premise before the conclusion for summer get-aways on May 7.
The Solicitor General also added that he won’t oppose the request for a priority hearing and said that it was in the interest of the State as well that the matter was decided at the earliest. Further, Jaising pushed a solicitation that the High Court ought to be approached to send a notification to the respondent trusts as well. Protesting this, the SG presented that a protected court can’t be asked to whom notification ought to be sent.
Details Of The Petition:
According to the current petition it has been stated that the Government of Gujarat through its 2019 order publicised their intent to redesign and redevelop the said Ashram to make it into a “world-class museum” and “tourist destination”.
Through the petition, Gandhi has expressed his fear that the project will change the physical structure of Sabarmati Ashram and corrupt its “pristine simplicity” which throughout the years has embodied the ideology of Gandhiji.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote an instruction dated 30.09.1933 stating that Sabarmati Ashram should be taken as Gandhiji’s will, which the petitioner claims violate Mahatma Gandhi’s wishes.