Muslim Personal Law Board opposes challenge to Places of Worship Act before Top Court

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The application has been filed in a plea challenging the validity of provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

An impleadment application has been filed by the Muslim Personal Law Board of India in a plea filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay before the Supreme Court against the provisions of the Places of Worship Act. It states that the Act ensures that normativity and positive law regulates the conduct of parties to maintain peace in society.

The application has been filed in a plea that states that the Places of Worship Act takes away the power of the Court and Religious Sects to restore their places of Worship. The plea has challenged Sections 2, 3 and 4 Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 on the grounds of Article 14, 15, 21, 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution.

However, the present impleadment application alleges that Upadhyay has suppressed the fact that he has affiliation to a political party which in fact has the largest party holding majority in the Parliament and can well take the legislative route.

Additionally, it alleges that "Upadhyay himself was once involved in Aug 2021 in an event where persons had been invited who indulged in hate speech, and wherein persons had been raising divisive slogans at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi which is sufficient to disentitle him to invoke the jurisdiction of the Court in the instant matter or PIL jurisdiction generally".

"The motive of filing the current writ petition is mala fide and purely political and is part of a larger and devious design to keep alive the communal and religiously sensitive issues in the country to serve the political interest of certain individuals and organisations," the application adds.

The plea refers to the judgment of the Supreme Court in case of M. Ismail Faruqui (Dr) v. Union of India, wherein while refusing the contention that the instant legislation stands between peace and communal disharmony, the court had held that any religious group has no vested right to a religious place and keeping it away from State intervention.

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has also moved an impleadment application in this writ petition filed by Upadhyay.

Case Title: Ashwini Upadhyay vs. Union of India and Ors