New plea challenging Places of Worship Act 1991 filed in Supreme Court

Places of Worship Act 1991: The petition argues that the Religious Worship Act 1991 contains special provisions which are unconstitutional for many other religions. The plea comes amid ongoing controversies surrounding the Varanasi and Mathura mosques.

New plea challenging Places of Worship Act 1991 filed in Supreme Court

Places of Worship Act 1991: A new petition has been filed with the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of certain sections of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991. The petition filed by a religious leader Swami Jeetendranand Saraswati, challenges the law on religious worship saying that it violates the principles of secularism and the rule of law.

The petition argued that the Religious Worship Act 1991 contained special provisions which are unconstitutional for many other religions. The plea comes amid ongoing controversies surrounding the Varanasi and Mathura mosques.

In the Gyanvapi Masjid case, the Muslim side had gone to the Supreme Court claiming that carrying out the videographic survey of the complex was a violation of the Places of Worship Act 1991. The site also pointed out that Section 4 of the law prohibits the filing of any lawsuit or legal proceeding regarding the conversion of the religious character of any place of worship, as it existed on August 15, 1947. The hearing was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Varanasi District Court judge on May 20, indicating that it will be better if a bailiff with an experience of more than 25-30 years handles the case. .

READ ALSO: What is the Religious Worship Act 1991? Know the key clauses/penalties

What is the Places of Worship Act?

  • The Places of Worship Act 1991 prohibits the conversion of any place of worship and provides for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on 15 August 1947. The law applies to all of India except Jammu- and Kashmir.
  • It prohibits the conversion of places of worship by stating that no one shall convert a place of worship of one religious denomination or section thereof to a place of worship of a different section of the same religious denomination or of a different religious denomination or section thereof.
  • It stipulates that the religious character of a place of worship existing on August 15, 1947 must continue to be the same as it existed on that day.
  • It also prohibits the filing of lawsuits in court raising any dispute over the character of these places of worship.

What does the Places of Worship Act protect?

The Places of Worship Act 1991 aims to protect the status of all religious structures as they stood on August 15, 1947. This did not apply to the Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid dispute.

READ MORE about the Places of Worship Act 1991 here

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