Hindu outfit moves SC to open Kashi, Mathura temple disputes

Vishwa Bhadra Pujari Purohit Mahasangh challenges a 1991 Act that mandates status quo on character of religious places as on Aug 15, 1947

Hindu outfit moves SC to open Kashi, Mathura temple disputes

For representation only. File photo

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 12

 Seven months after the Supreme Court paved the way for construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, a Hindu organisation has moved the SC to open Kashi and Mathura temple disputes.

Petitioner Vishwa Bhadra Pujari Purohit Mahasangh has challenged the validity of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which said character of religious places at the time of Independence can't be changed.

The petition is being seen as an attempt to start a legal battle to reclaim disputed religious sites at Kashi, Mathura and some other places.

The petition, which has challenged Section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, assumes significance in the case of Kashi and Mathura where two disputed mosques stand.

In its unanimous November 9 verdict, a five-judge Bench headed by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi had described the 1991 Act as a legislative instrument designed to protect the secular features of Indian polity.

But now the Mahasangh' has sought directions to declare Section 4 of the 1991 Act unconstitutional. The petition said the top court's remarks were mere observations without any judicial force as the Act was not under challenge before it.

"The impugned Act has barred the right and remedy against encroachment made on religious property of Hindus exercising might of power by followers of another faith," it said.

By making the impugned provision, Parliament has without resolution of dispute, through process of court, abated the suit and proceedings, which is per se unconstitutional and beyond its law making power, it said.

Parliament cannot restrain Hindu devotees from getting back their religious places of worship through the judicial process, the plea said.

It cannot make any law that takes away or abridges the vested religious right of devotees and cannot make any law with retrospective effect, it said, invoking fundamental right to religion under Article 25 of the Constitution.

 

 

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