What is the law of the place of worship, at the center of which is a law that is decades old

A law enacted by the then PV Normiha Rao-led government in 1991 to enforce the status quo across religious structures in India is at the heart of ongoing lawsuits in various courts involving Varanasi-based Gyanvapi mosques. An application heard by the Supreme Court claiming that the order of the local trial court, and the refusal to quash the judgment of the Allahabad High Court, violated the Place of Worship Act, 1991.

Although the prosecutor representing the mosque committee said the local court’s mandatory videography survey violated a law passed by parliament in 1991 on the mosque premises, the Hindu side maintained that the site was exempt from it. Hyderabad MP and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Waisi said the Varanasi court order was “wrong, unjust and illegal” because it completely ignored the Place of Worship Act, 1991. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter again on Thursday, here is what you need. Learn about the law.

What is the law of place of worship and what are its provisions?

Pursuant to Section 4 (1) of the Act, the Act was enacted on August 15, 1947 to protect religious identity and the character of places of worship. Only the controversial Ram temple site in Ayodhya was exempted from this law. The law was passed in Parliament at a time when protests were taking place across the country over the Ram Mandir. Section 3 of the Act specifies that no religious place or part of it may be converted to the same religion or to a different religion or even to a different community.

Section 4 (2) of the same Act states that all appeals, lawsuits or any legal proceedings shall cease after the enactment of this Act. However, a new process can be started if the religious character of a place of worship is changed after a certain period of time – August 15, 1947. The law made it mandatory for the state to maintain the religious nature of all places of worship as it existed. The time of independence. The law also imposes a fine, which includes imprisonment for up to 3 years, including fines.

Supreme Court in the Place of Worship Act, 1991

In its landmark Ayodhya verdict in 2019, the Supreme Court upheld the law, maintaining that it reflected the principles of secularism enshrined in the constitution.

“On 15 August 1947, Parliament provided a guarantee for the preservation of the religious character of the existing public places of worship and against the conversion of public places of worship, Parliament determined that independence from colonial rule provided a constitutional basis for the cure of injustice. The past has reassured every religious community that their places of worship will be preserved and their character will not be changed, “the apex court observed.

Petition against the Place of Worship Act, 1991

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Upadhyay has claimed that the law violates secular aspects of the constitution, while many critics have claimed that the Center acted outside its purview when it enacted a law on “pilgrimage” or “graveyard”, which is on the state list. Came under.

“The Center has blocked redressal against illegal occupation of places of worship and shrines and now Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs cannot sue or go to the High Court under section 226. Therefore, they cannot reclaim their places. In the spirit of this and the illegal barbaric activities of the aggressors will continue forever, ”Upadhyay pleaded.

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