MPs Absent, Bills Seeking Repeal of Places of Worship Act, UCC Not Presented

As a court in Varanasi continues to hear the civil suit over the dispute between the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the Gyanvapi Mosque, a private member’s bill proposed by a BJP MP calling for the repeal of the law of 1991 on Places of Worship (Special Provisions) was listed for introduction to Rajya Sabha on Fridays.

The bill, however, was not introduced as Harnath Singh Yadav, the MP who had given notice to propose it, was not present in the House when his name was called.

His fellow BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena, whose Uniform Civil Code (UCC) private member’s bill has been pending introduction since 2020, was absent again. Meena had given notice to introduce the UCC Bill in 2020, but he turned up absent on several occasions when his name was called to introduce it.

When contacted, Yadav said he could not attend as he was not feeling well. He said the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 “violates fundamental rights such as the right to equality and the right to life, and also infringes upon citizens’ right to guaranteed religious freedom. by the Constitution”.

The law, introduced in 1991, aims to maintain the “religious character” of places of worship as it existed in 1947, with the exception of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, which was already before the courts.