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SC gives further time to the Centre to file response on pleas against Places of Worship Act

By Jhanak Singh      10 January, 2023 09:04 PM      0 Comments
SC gives further time to the Centre to file response on pleas against Places of Worship Act

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday granted further time to the Union government till end of February to file its response to a batch of pleas challenging validity of the 1991 Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, which mandated maintaining character of religious places as prevailed on August 15, 1947.  

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha gave time to the Centre on a request by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

He said the court may fix a date of hearing in the matter and the Centre would file its reply by then.  

Notably, the top court had issued notice to the Union government on March 12, 2021 on a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for NGO All India Muslim Personal Law Board raised preliminary objections to the plea, saying a PIL can't be entertained when there were observations by the Constitution bench in the matter. He was alluding towards the Ayodhya case judgement of November, 2019, which stated, "In preserving the character of places of public worship, Parliament has mandated in no uncertain terms that history and its wrongs shall not be used as instruments to oppress the present and the future".

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Upadhyay, contended the instant case related to challenge to the validity of the law and not the observations by the Supreme Court.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, questioned the validity of pending matters including of Gyanvapi mosque, even though the Centre has yet not filed its response in the matter.

It is to be noted that the top court had several times in the past gave extended the time for the Centre to file its response in the matter.

However, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had on October 12, 2022 told the court that the 2019 Ayodhya case judgement by a five-judge Constitution bench does not cover the questions related to validity of the Protection of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.



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