‘Religion-neutral’ places of worship law: Muslim panel at SC in new plea

The Muslim body said there seems to be a trend of filing PILs and petitions selectively targeting issues related to Muslims. Read more

New Delhi: Two days before the hearing on the petitions against the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) submitted a new plea urging the Supreme Court not to interfere with the 1991 Act , citing unrest in the law and state commands.

The AIMPLB, in its plea, cited the findings of the Srikrishna Commission set up to investigate the causes of the riots in Mumbai in December 1992 and January 1993 and the causes of the serial bombings that occurred in March 1993.

“The unequivocal conclusion of the Commission is that the riots of December 1992 were due to the hurt feeling that Muslims felt by the shameful act of demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 which continued until January 1993” , she said.

The plea argued that while dealing with the causes of the bombings that occurred in Mumbai, the commission unequivocally concluded that if there had been no riots in December 1992-January 1993 in Mumbai, there there would have been no bombings in March 1993.

The commission had also found that there was a link between the December 1992-January 1993 riots and the March 1993 bombings.

“As a result of these riots, our country experienced carnage which occurred in February 2002 with the burning of Sabarmati express coaches followed by the systematic carnage of Muslims in Gujarat. The salutary object of the law is to prevent such disturbances of public order and to maintain public peace and tranquility and reinforce the fundamental characteristics of secularism,” the plea said, seeking to challenge the issue.

The Muslim body said there appears to be a trend of filing PILs and petitions selectively targeting issues related to a particular minority community with the intention of using the pending such cases to fuel policy. of hatred on the ground.

“This court must not allow such unregulated PILs which have the potential to create unnecessary news stories; consequently leading to publicity stunts for these petitioners,” he said.

He further added that the law does not violate any cultural rights of any section of the people and that it envisages peaceful co-existence and thus promotes the diversity of cultures in our country.

“The law achieves the goal of promoting syncretic culture (Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb) which is the basic ethos of Indian culture,” he said, adding that the law is religiously neutral.

The AIMPLB claimed that the petitioners were taking revenge on the current generation of Muslims who had played no part in inflicting such alleged insults on Hindus of the distant past.

“Usually such controversies are revived by the dominant group against the enslaved group, resulting in the insult and humiliation of the enslaved group. Such revival, far from inflicting the rights to life and freedom of people from the dominant group, violates article 21 of people from the subjugated group. Such activities are usually used by non-state actors with the tacit support of the current establishment. They are in the hands of the current establishment. “, did he declare.

He claimed there was countless examples in history where Jain and Buddhist places of worship were converted to Hindu temples as well as Muslim places of worship were converted to Gurudwaras and Hindu places of worship were converted to Masjids.

On September 9, the Supreme Court said the motions against the law would be heard by a three-judge bench on October 11 and asked the parties to complete closing arguments before the hearing. The high court said the solicitor general was given two weeks to file an affidavit.

On March 12, 2021, a bench headed by then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had requested the Centre’s response to the plea filed by attorney Ashwini Upadhyay challenging the validity of certain provisions of the law.

Upadhyay’s plea said, “The 1991 Act was enacted under the guise of ‘public order’, which is a subject of state (schedule-7, list-II, entry-1) and ‘the places of pilgrimage in India” is also a subject of state (Schedule-7, List-II, Entry-7). Thus, the Center cannot enact the law. ‘State to legislate to remove fundamental rights, but the 1991 law removes the rights of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs to restore their places of worship and pilgrimage, destroyed by the barbarian invaders.

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