Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging constitutional validity of Places of Worship Act on October 11 | The Financial Express

Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging constitutional validity of Places of Worship Act on October 11

The Places of Worship Act 1991 states that the religious character of all spiritual places will remain unchanged from the date of independence, i.e., August 15, 1947.

Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging constitutional validity of Places of Worship Act on October 11
The sun sets over the Gyanvapi Mosque Photographer: Kanishka Sonthalia/Bloomberg

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to list petitions challenging the Places of Worship Act, 1991, for hearing on October 11 by a three-judge bench. The top court has also asked the central government to file its reply in the matter within two weeks as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought more time for file its response.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit and comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and P S Narasimha will hear the case. The bench will also be hearing the counter-petitions and intervention application filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.

ALSO READ| What is the Places of Worship Act, the decades-old law at the centre of the Gyanvapi Mosque case?

The CJI, however, disallowed a plea to stall ongoing proceedings in the Varanasi and Mathura courts under the Places of Worship Act.

On Thursday, the daughter of former King of Kashi, Maharaja Kumari Krishna Priya, moved an application through advocate J Sai Deepak in the top court to join the case as an intervenor. Stating that her father Kashi Naresh Vibhuti Narayan Singh was the Chief Patron of all temples in Varanasi, she holds the obligation, on behalf of the erstwhile royal family, of challenging the provisions of the Act being violative of several Fundamental Rights such as Articles 14, 25, 26, 29 and 32 of the Constitution.

The Places of Worship Act 1991 states that the religious character of all spiritual places will remain unchanged from the date of independence, i.e., August 15, 1947, with the only exception of the Ayodhya temple. Several sections of the law safeguard the religious character of all places of worship, as they existed during the time of India’s independence.

While arguing for one of the petitioners, counsel Vishnu Jain, citing the Minerva Mills judgement, noted that any law passed in the parliament is subject to judicial review.

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