Plea challenges legislation prohibiting claims to locations of worship


New Delhi, November 1

A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the validity of some provisions of a 1991 law that prohibited filing of a lawsuit to reclaim a place of worship or seek a change in its character from what prevailed on August 15, 1947.

What 1991 Act says

  • The petition alleged that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, created “arbitrary and irrational retrospective cutoff date” of August 15,1947, for maintaining the character of places of worship-pilgrimage against encroachment done by “fundamentalist-barbaric invaders and law breakers”.

The plea seeks setting aside of Sections 2, 3, 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, on grounds that they take away the right of judicial remedy to reclaim a place of worship by any person or a religious group.

The law had made only one exception — the dispute pertaining to the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri masjid at Ayodhya. The fresh plea, filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay through advocate Ashwani Dubey, assumes significance as there has been a demand by some Hindu groups to reclaim religious places at Mathura and Kashi, which are prohibited under the 1991 law.

The provisions not only offend the right to equality and life but also violate the principles of secularism, which is an integral part of the Preamble and the basic structure of the Constitution, it said. The petition is likely to come up for hearing in the coming days.— PTI



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