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SC seeks the government’s response on the validity of the Law on places of worship | India News


NEW DELHI: Sixteen months after deciding the Ayodhya territorial dispute, the Supreme Court on Friday requested the Center’s response to a PIL challenging the validity of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 that prohibited courts from filing civil lawsuits to change the character of religious places from what it was at the time of Independence.

SC seeks the government's response on the validity of the Law on places of worship | India News

A bench of the Chief Justice SA Bobde, who was part of the five-judge tribunal that settled the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute in favor of the Hindus on November 9, 2019, and Judge AS Bopanna issued notices to the ministries of home, law and culture in the PIL presented by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.
The PIL said that the Center had created an arbitrary and irrational retrospective deadline of August 15, 1947 to maintain the character of religious sites and prohibited the filing of any lawsuits in court regarding “disputes against encroachment by fundamentalists, barbarous invaders and lawbreakers. ”And all pending lawsuits in this regard will be dropped.
Rao’s government intervened in Act against Babri’s campaign
The law had made a single exception for Ayodhya, as the dispute had been bitter for centuries. “The Center has banned appeals against illegal encroachment on places of worship and pilgrimage and now Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs cannot file a lawsuit or go to a higher court under Article 226. Therefore, they will not be able to restore their places of worship and pilgrimage guaranteed by articles 25 to 26 of the Constitution and the illegal barbaric acts of the invaders will continue in perpetuity ”, he said.
The Places of Worship Law was enacted by the Narasimha Rao government in the face of a campaign initiated by the VHP for control of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi and Shahi Idgah in Mathura. VHP has argued that the mosques at the sites in question were built after the demolition of Hindu temples and should be returned to the majority community.
The Rao government enacted the law to freeze and maintain the denominational character of all places of worship, except for the Babri-Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi complex in Ayodhya, as it existed on August 15, 1947.
A similar PIL presented by an association of priests through a lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain is also pending in court. This PIL has sought the removal of the 1991 law, apparently to reactivate the litigation over disputed religious sites in Mathura (Krishna Janmasthan) and Varanasi (Kashi Vishwanath temple-mosque).
This allegation had provoked sharp reactions from Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, who had prompted the SC to label this as a surreptitious attempt to correct historical errors and warning that it was fraught with the risk of unleashing a barrage of litigation.
In its 1,045-page Ayodhya judgment, the CS had referred to the 1991 Law and said: “By providing a guarantee for the preservation of the religious character of places of public worship as they existed on August 15, 1947, and against Conversion of public places of worship, Parliament determined that independence from colonial rule provides a constitutional basis for healing the injustices of the past by providing confidence to each religious community that their places of worship will be preserved and that their character will not be altered. “The Places of Worship Act is a legislative intervention that preserves non-retrogression as an essential feature of our secular values.”
Upadhyay’s request was a strong argument for the court to review his position. “Hindus are fighting for the restoration of Lord Krishna’s birthplace for hundreds of years and peaceful upheaval continues, but while promulgating the Law, the Center excluded Lord Ram’s birthplace in Ayodhya but not the birthplace. of Krishna, although both are incarnations of Vishnu, “he said.
Upadhyay said that the Islamic government was established in India after 1192, when Muhammad Ghori defeated Prithviraj Chauhan and that foreigners ruled India until it gained independence in 1947.
Therefore, if a deadline was to be set to maintain the character of religious sites, then it should be 1192, as after that, thousands of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples and shrines were damaged and turned into mosques by Muslim rulers. he said.

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