Swami Jitendranand Saraswati Approaches Supreme Court Challenging Constitutional Validity Of Places Of Worship Act, 1991 [Read Petition]
Places of Worship Act has been challenged before the Supreme Court in yet another petition filed by Swami Jitendranand Saraswati.
The Petition filed by Swami challenges the constitutional validity of Sections 2,3 and 4 of the Places of Worship Act (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The petition states that the said sections of the Places of Worship Act are in violation of Articles 14, 15, 21, 25, 26 and 29 and that it also violates the principles of secularism and rule of law.
There are already two petitions pending before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Places of Worship Act. One was filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and the other by Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Advocate Satya Sabharwal. Both cases have been tagged together and notices have been issued by the Court. However, the said matters have not been listed thereafter. (read report)
The present petition states that the Places of Worship Act is void and unconstitutional for the following reasons:
"1. Offends right of Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs to pray profess practice and prorogate religion (Article 25)
2. Infringes on rights of Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs to manage maintain and administer the places of worship and pilgrimage (Article 26)
3. Deprives Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs from owning/acquiring religious properties belonging to deity (misappropriated by other communities)
4. 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
5. Deprives Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs to take back their places of worship and pilgrimage connected with cultural heritage (Article 29)
6. Restricts Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs to restore the possession of places of worship and pilgrimage but allows Muslims to claim under S.107, Waqf Act
7. Legalize barbarian acts of invaders
8. 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."
The Petitioner in the petition points out that, "The Facts Constituting Cause of Action accrued on 11.7.1991, when the act came into force. By this Act, Centre has created arbitrary irrational retrospective cutoff date, declared that character of places of worship-pilgrimage shall be maintained as it was on 15.8.1947 and no suit or proceeding shall lie in Court in respect of disputes against encroachment done by fundamentalist barbaric invaders and law breakers and such proceeding shall stand abated. If suit/appeal/proceeding filed on ground that conversion of place of worship and pilgrimage has taken place after 15.8.1947 and before 18.9.1991, that shall be disposed of in terms of S.4(1). Thus, Centre has barred the remedies against illegal encroachment on the places of worship and pilgrimages and now Hindus, Jains, Budhists and Sikhs cannot file a suit or approach High Court under Article 226. Therefore, they won't be able to restore their places of worship and pilgrimage including temples-endowments in spirit of Articles 25-26 and illegal barbarian act of invaders will continue in perpetuity."
The petition filed through Advocate Bijan KR. Ghosh says that "Because barbaric invaders destroyed a number of places of worship and pilgrimage to make Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs to realize that they have been conquered and have to follow the dictum of Ruler. Hindus Jains Buddhists Sikhs had suffered from 1192 to 1947. Question is as to whether even after the independence; they cannot seek judicial remedy to undo the barbarian acts through process of court to establish that law is mightier than the sword"
The petitioner referring to the maxim 'ubi jus ibi remedium' says that this maxim is being frustrated by the impugned provisions. The petition says that the injuries caused to Hindus, Jains, Buddhist and Sikhs is extremely large as the impugned provisions takes away the right to approach the Court and thus right to judicial remedy has been closed.
The petition thus seeks a declaration that Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Places of Worship Act are unconstitutional and void on the grounds that the Sections are violative of Articles 14, 15, 21, 25, 26, 29 of the Constitution, in so far as it legalizes illegal occupation by barbaric foreign forces of the ancient historical and puranic places of worship and pilgrimage.