Places Of Worship Act: SC Asks Centre to file counter affidavit by December 12

Places of Worship Act 1991, Swamy, Supreme Court

The Supreme court of India differed the hearing on batch of petitions and fixed 23 January 2023 for Hearing. Supreme Court dire3cted central government to file reply till 12 December. One of the petitioners Subramanian Swamy argued before supreme court that he is not seeking to set it aside the complete act, but only two more temples need to be added and then the act can remain as it is. The CJI said, ‘Let the proceedings be listed on December 12, 2022.’.

During the mentioning before the Chief Justice of India, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta requested for adjournment in the case. “I need to consult with the Government for filing a detailed counter. I would need consultation at higher level. If some time can be given”, SG Mehta submitted.

During the hearing Supreme Court raises the questions that, ‘Whether the parliament was legislatively competent to enact The Places of Worship (Special Provision) Act 1991 as the Act deals with subject matters mentioned in the State List (List-2) of 7th schedule of the Constitution

Whether the bar of conversion of places of worship imposed by Section-3 read with Section 2(b) is violative of Articles 14, 21, 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution in as much as it assumes, contrary to settled law relating to dedication of temple and temple property to the Idol, which never dies, that seeking reclamation or restoration of the temples destroyed by Muslim invaders , specially by Aurangzeb, would amount to seeking conversion of the place of worship and thereby putting an imprimatur on the destruction of the Hindu temples and the building of structures on the temple land for offering prayers by another community? Whether this would amount to depriving the temples and the Idols of their property without any public purpose and would violate Article-300 A of the Constitution?

Whether the Cut-off date 15-8-1947 fixed by Section 4(1) of the Act is discriminatory and manifestly arbitrary and violative of Article 14, 21, 25, 26, 29(1) of the Constitution of India as for approximately 4 centuries prior to the said date the people of India were not free and subjects of initially the Mughal invaders and thereafter of British imperialists and were not in a position to seek retrieval and reconstruction?

If the second part of Section 4(2) which bars suits, appeals and other legal proceedings with respect to reclamation of place of worship is violative of Article 14, 21, 25 ,26, 29(2) in as much as it denies access to the Court of justice for peaceful resolution of disputes and redressal of wrongs committed by Muslim invaders on religious grounds by use of force? or Section 4 (2) of the Act is violative of Articles 14, 21, 25, 26, and 29(2) of the Constitution in as much as it mandates the abatement of pending disputes in relation to place of worships in the Courts and thereby legislatively perpetuates the destructions of prime temples and the building of structures on the temple land by use of temple materials by the Muslim invaders by use of force resulting in adversely impacting the fundamental rights of Hindus to religion and worship?

On the request of an advocate, the CJI agreed to set up a three-judge bench to hear petitions related to the matter.

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