Places of Worship Act challenged in Supreme Court

India News

A representative of the erstwhile royal family of Kashi has approached the Supreme Court challenging the Places of Worship Act, 1992.

The application by Maharaja Kumari Krishna Priya, daughter of the current titular head of the erstwhile royal family, and two others has contended that the 1992 Act is a “textbook instance of a legislation that was passed in the most undemocratic of manners possible, without any regard for fundamental rights of affected parties, in particular the right of formerly colonised indigenous communities to seek reclamation of occupied religious cum civilisational sites”.

The plea filed through advocate J Sai Deepak urged the court to permit them to become parties in writ petitions — already pending and listed for hearing before the SC on Friday — on the issue so that they can present their arguments in law.

On the Places of Worship Act, the application stated, “For a legislation that shuts the doors of justice to affected communities and parties, it was ‘debated’ only on three dates i.e., 23.08.1991, 09.09.1991 and 10.09.1991 and the Bill was passed on the last of the said dates. The debate of 23.08.1991 clearly captures the fact that the period of seven days’ notice was not afforded to members of Lok Sabha before the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Bill dated 22.08.1991 was introduced”.

That it exempted the Ayodhya dispute from its purview “itself highlights in stark relief the discriminatory, arbitrary and capricious nature of the Act”, the petition said.

The Act “actively stands in the way of the truth being laid bare through constitutional means before a court of law through evidence which is legally admissible”, the application stated.

The second applicant is Santosh Tamilarasan, a member of Tuluva Vellalar community. The third applicant is a Vaishnavaite.

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