A Bench of CJI SA Bobde and Justice AS Bopanna issued a notice to Centre
The Supreme Court directs Central Government to respond to Swamy’s petition to modify the Places of Worship Act on Friday issued notice to Central Government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging the Constitutional validity of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991. A Bench comprising of CJI S A Bobde and Justice A S Bopanna issued notice and tagged the matter with Ashwini Upadhyay‘s plea seeking similar relief.
During the Ayodhya agitation, Central Government in 1991 passed the Places of Worship Act seeking the status quo of 1947 to all worshipping places excluding Ayodhya. Though Sangh Parivar raised the issue of restoration of Kashi Viswanath and Mathura Sri Krishna Temples which were destroyed by Mughal rulers, the Place of Worship Act was seen as a barrier for this demand.
Previous week Swamy tweeted his displeasure on the Registry listed the petition by Ashwani Upadhyay first and ignored his petition which was filed months ago.
Subramanian Swamy in his plea said that the Places of Worship Act is a barrier, depriving his right to pray at a place where due to foreign oppression and invasion a Hindu temple of a certain significance according to faith and belief of Hindus was/ is converted, inviting this Court to interpret in lieu of the well-documented history and review in checking the constitutional validity of such Act.
“The Act bars the Right(s) of the Petitioner(s), devout Hindus apart from filing a suit or any other proceedings before any Court; to pray to the one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, standing on the western bank of the Holy River Ganga, which is one of the most divine and holiest Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva known as Kashi Vishwanath Temple and any/ all such temples were due to foreign aggression conversion transpired. That the Act of 1991 further restricts and denies access to a place of religious worship further resulting in violation of the Petitioner(s) Fundamental right and faith which is inherent in the Preamble and basic structure the Constitution of India,” said Swamy in his petition with co-petitioner Satya Sabharwal.
During his argument, Swamy pointed out that the Registry of Supreme Court delayed in considering his petition which was the first petition. Previous week Swamy tweeted his displeasure on the Registry listed the petition by Ashwani Upadhyay first and ignored his petition which was filed months ago.
Swamy in his petition said that a direction to read down Section 3 and 4 of the Place of Worship Act, 1991 and declare them to be unconstitutional, void ab-initio and ultra vires to Articles 13, 25, 26 and 32 of the Constitution of India
It will be interesting to know what would be the reply of the Central Government led by BJP on the petitions filed by BJP leaders, Subramanian Swamy and Ashwani Upadhyay, challenging the Places of Worship Act. In November 2019, Swamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for amendments in the Places of Worship Act for the restoration of Kashi Viswanath and Mathura Sri Krishna Temples.
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