The Islamic body Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind has filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking not to admit petitions filed by Hindu groups seeking to re-open cases related to reclaiming disputed religious sites at Kashi, Mathura and some other places, where Muslim religious places were built after demolishing ancient Hindu temples.
According to the reports, the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind has filed an impleadment plea in the Supreme Court not even to admit the petition filed by the Hindu group in the Kashi-Mathura temple land dispute cases. The Jamiat also said that they should be heard before they give notices to Hindu petitioners in the case.
On Friday, Hindu organisations had moved the apex court seeking re-opening of cases pertaining to Kashi and Mathura temple disputes.
The petition was filed to challenge the validity of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which states that the character of religious places at the time of Independence cannot be changed. The petition is being seen as an attempt to re-open cases to reclaim disputed religious sites at Kashi, Mathura and some other places.
However, in response Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind has also filed the petition demanding the Supreme Court not to entertain petitions of the Hindu side, as it claimed that such petitions not only threatened the secular fabric of the country but also will create fear in Muslim minds who are still recovering from the Ayodhya verdict.
Hindu organisation file plea in SC challenging Places of Worship Act, 1991
A Hindu organisation, Vishwa Bhadra Pujari Purohit Mahasangh, had moved the Supreme Court of India challenging Section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 that calls for maintaining status quo of all places of worship, except the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.
The PIL filed by Vishwa Bhadra Pujari Purohit Mahasangh had sought directions to declare Section 4 of the 1991 Act as ultra vires and unconstitutional as the law is a hindrance in the path of legally reclaiming disputed religious structures, such as Kashi and Mathura.
“The impugned Act has barred the right and remedy against encroachment made on religious property of Hindus exercising might of power by followers of another faith,” it said.
The section 4(1) of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 states, “It is hereby declared that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.”
According to the act, no mosque can be converted into a temple and vice-versa.
Re-opening of Kashi, Mathura land disputes attains significance
The petition to re-open cases of land disputes related to Kashi, Mathura and other places of worships attains significance as it comes just seven months after the Supreme Court in a historic verdict had paved wat for the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
On November 9, the Supreme Court, in a historic decision, accepted the Hindu claim and handed over the Ram Janmabhoomi site to Hindus to build Ram Mandir and finally end the century-long dispute. The five-judge bench had unanimously come to the decision after weighing the arguments presented by all sides for 40 days.
The Muslims were given a 5-acre site at an alternate location by the government of Uttar Pradesh, as per the SC order.
However, the five-judge bench, headed by then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had dealt with the 1991 Act and had pointed that the law is a legislative instrument designed to protect the secular features of Indian polity, which is one of the basic features of the Constitution.