Amid ongoing Gyanvapi row, Swami Jitendranand Saraswati has filed a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of certain Sections of the Places of Worship Act, 1991. The petitioner alleged that it violates the principles of secularism and also the rule of law.
Places of Worship Act has become a controversial subject in wake of the Mosque-Temple disputes in Varanasi and Mathura. The Act prohibits conversion of a place of worship as it existed on 15th August 1947.
Swami Jitendranand, a religious leader stated that Places of Worship Act 1991 is void and unconstitutional for many reasons. He said the act offends rights of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs to pray, profess practice and prorogate religion (Article 25) and infringes on their rights to manage, maintain and administer the places of worship and pilgrimage (Article 26).
“The Act deprives Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs from owning/acquiring religious properties belonging to deity (misappropriated by other communities)…takes away right of judicial remedy of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs to take back their places of worship and pilgrimage and the property which belong to deity,” he added.
The plea added, “The law, which was passed during the Congress government, deprives Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs to take back their places of worship and pilgrimage connected with cultural heritage (Article 29) and restricts them to restore the possession of places of worship and pilgrimage but allows Muslims to claim under S.107, Waqf Act.”
Swami Jitendranand further stated in the plea that the law legalize barbarian acts of invaders and violates the doctrine of Hindu law that ‘Temple property is never lost even if enjoyed by strangers for years and even the king cannot take away property as deity is embodiment of God and is juristic person, represents ‘Infinite the timeless’ and cannot be confined by the shackles of time’.