PIL by former MP Chintamani Malviya challenges Places of Worship Act

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Another Public Interest Litigation plea filed before the Supreme Court has challenged the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 while stating that the Act takes away the rights of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs to restore their 'places of worship and pilgrimages', destroyed by barbaric invaders.

The PIL filed by former Member of Parliament, Chintamani Malviya through Advocate Rakesh Mishra states, "It excludes the birthplace of Lord Rama but includes the birthplace of Lord Krishna, though both are the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the creator and equally worshiped all over the world." 

The plea further alleges that the Act blatantly offends the right of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs to restore, manage, maintain and administer the 'places of worship and pilgrimage' guaranteed under Article 26 of the Indian Constitution.

Additionally, the plea raises the following questions of law:

  • Whether the Centre has the power to close the doors of Courts?
  • Whether Centre has the power to bar judicial remedy against illegal encroachment on the places of worship and pilgrimage?
  • Whether Centre has transgressed its power by making provisions to bar judicial remedy available to aggrieved Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs against the wrong committed by invaders and law breakers?
  • Whether the Hindu law is the ‘Law in force’ within the meaning of Article 372(1) after commencement of the Constitution?
  • Whether Section 2, 3, and 4 of the impugned Act is void under Article 13(2) and ultra virus to the Article 14, 15, 21, 25, 26, and 29?
  • Whether any rule regulation custom usage having the force of law, running counter to Articles 25-26 is void by virtue of Article 13(1)?
  • Whether illegal construction on religious places before 15.8.1947 has become void and non est by virtue of injunction under Article 13(1)?
  • Whether exclusion of Lord Ram's birthplace and inclusion of Lord Krishna's birthplace offends Article 14 as both are incarnations of Lord Vishnu?
  • Whether the impugned Act violates the principle of secularism as same has been made to curb the right of Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs to restore their places of worship and pilgrimage through Court?

In a similar plea, the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 have been challenged stating that a mosque constructed on a temple land cannot be a mosque.

Another plea challenging the Places of Worship Act 1991 is pending before the Supreme Court filed by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay which states that "the Act has taken away the power of the Court and Religious Sects to restore their places of Worship". Notice was issued on the petition in March of 2021.

In this plea, recently, Jamait Ulama-I-Hind filed an impleadment application before the Top Court.

Additionally, one more plea has challenged the 1991 Act stating that religious fundamentalists’ invasion on the land of India was always followed by the destruction of places of worship of eminence and a place of worship of different religious denomination was constructed or established over the ruins of the earlier structure and thus, each and every place of worship of eminence of Sanatan (Hindu) religion has one or more place of worship of a particular religious denomination in its vicinity.

Case Title: Chintamani Malviya vs. Union of India & Ors.