Muslim body calls on SC to intervene in plea against places of worship law

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New Delhi: The Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has filed a plea with the Supreme Court seeking intervention in an ongoing petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991.

The plea states that the attorney for the petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay has raised grounds which have already been considered and decided by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.

While all of the petitioner’s allegations are believed to be true, this is only to seek to correct historical wrongs, the Muslim body said.

“This court has categorically ruled that the law cannot be used as a means to go back in time and provide legal recourse to anyone who disagrees with the course that history has taken. and that courts today cannot take cognizance of historic rights and faults unless their legal consequences are shown to be enforceable in the present.

“In fact, this court has categorically declared that this court cannot hear claims arising from the actions of Mughal rulers against Hindu places of worship in court today,” the plea reads.

The organization stated that there was no conflict between the Waqf Law and the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991, as alleged by Upadhyay, because Section 7 of the 1991 Act gives it a preponderant effect over other legislative texts.

“Furthermore, in any event, the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 being a special vehicular Act aimed at preserving the secular fabric of the country, will in any event prevail over general enactment.

“There is a list of many mosques circulating on social media alleging that the mosques were built by destroying Hindu places of worship.

“Needless to say, if this petition is granted, it will open the floodgates of litigation against countless mosques in the country and the religious divide the country is recovering from in the wake of the Ayodhya conflict will only widen” , said the plea. .

In March last year, the Supreme Court asked for the Centre’s response to a plea filed before it challenging the validity of certain provisions of the 1991 Act, which prohibit taking legal action to claim a place of worship or ask for a change in its character from what prevailed on August 15, 1947.

The petition alleges that the 1991 law creates an “arbitrary and irrational retrospective cut-off date” of August 15, 1947 to maintain the character of places of worship or pilgrimage against encroachment by “fundamentalist-barbarian invaders and lawbreakers.”

The Supreme Court had notified the Center of the plea filed by Upadhyay, asking that Sections 2, 3, 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 be set aside on the ground that these provisions deprive the right of judicial remedy to claim a place of worship for any person or religious group.

The law made only one exception – over the dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

The advocacy is gaining momentum as there has been a continued demand from some Hindu groups to reclaim religious places in Mathura and Kashi, which are banned under the 1991 law.

The PIL filed through lawyer Ashwani Kumar Dubey argued that the Center barred claims against unlawful encroachment on places of worship and pilgrimage by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs, which do not cannot sue in court or go to a high court.

The petitioner seeks a declaration that the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 are void and unconstitutional for breach of fundamental rights to equality, to practice one’s religion and to maintain places of worship. worship, among other things, as the law validates “places of worship” made illegally by barbarian invaders.

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