New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Union government to respond to a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the Places of Worship Act which freezes the status of places of worship as it was on August 15, 1947.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde issued notice to the Union Ministries of Home, Law and Culture on a plea filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay against various provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991.
Advocate Upadhyay alleged that the 1991-law creates an "arbitrary and irrational retrospective cut-off date" of August 15, 1947 for maintaining the character of the places of worship or pilgrimage against encroachment done by "fundamentalist-barbaric invaders and law-breakers".
He said the the said law bars Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs from approaching courts to 're-claim' their places of worship which were 'invaded' and 'encroached' and was against the principles of secularism.
The special law was enacted in 1991 by the Congress government. The law gave just one exception on the dispute pertaining to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri masjid at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
The plea assumes significance in the wake of increasing demand by some Hindu groups to reclaim religious places at Mathura and Kashi.(UNI)