Petition Filed in SC Seeking Survey of Mosques Over 100 Years Old Having Wells and Ponds

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction for a confidential survey by the Archaeological Survey of India on all the ancient and prominent mosques which are over a hundred years old in India and having wells and ponds, news agency ANI reported.

The PIL sought directions for the shifting of โ€˜wuzuโ€™ or โ€˜wuduโ€™ (Islamic procedure followed by Muslims for cleansing parts of the body before offering prayers) from the ponds and wells in the mosques over hundred years old which are disputed to taps or modern faucets till the time, a confidential survey could be completed so that if any relic is discovered, unnecessary communal hatred and hurting religious sentiments could be avoided.

The petition is filed through advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma by advocates Shubham Awasthi and Sapta Rishi Mishra also sought directions for the issuance of guidelines and directions for keeping the disputed properties free from any party or their interference till the time, a detailed confidential survey could be done and the reported be submitted.

โ€œThe petition seeks direction to the respondents to conduct a survey on all the ancient prominent mosques which are over 100 years old and have disputes owing to presence/alleged presence of relics as mentioned in Ramayana/Mahabharata/Puranas/Upanishads/Vedas/Jain, Agamas/Buddhist Texts/Ancient Religious Texts belonging to Hindus/Sikhs/Jains/Buddhists in India with wells for wudu/wuzu or hidden passages for hidden relics belonging to Hindus/Jains/Sikhs/Buddhists and for their protection thereof,โ€ the plea stated.

Plea in SC Challenges Validity of Sections of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991

A fresh petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of certain sections of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, alleging that they violate constitutional provisions, including those related to equality before law and prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

The plea said that by the Act, the Centre has declared that religious character of a place of worship and pilgrimage as it existed on August 15, 1947 shall continue and barred the remedy by way of suit with respect to such matter in any court.

The petition, filed by Mathura-resident Devkinandan Thakur, has challenged the validity of sections 2, 3, 4 of the 1991 Act claiming that it takes away right of judicial remedy of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs to take back their places of worship and pilgrimage and property which belong to the deity.

โ€œThe injury caused to Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs is extremely large because sections 2, 3, 4 of the Act has taken away the right to approach the court and thus right to judicial remedy has been closed, said the plea, filed through advocate Ashutosh Dubey.

While section 3 of the Act deals with bar of conversion of places of worship, section 4 pertains to declaration as to the religious character of certain places of worship and bar of jurisdiction of courts.

The plea alleged that the Centre has transgressed its legislative power by barring remedy of judicial review which is a basic feature of the Constitution.

โ€œHindus are fighting for restoration of birthplace of Lord Krishna from hundreds of years and peaceful public agitation continues but while enacting the Act, the Centre has excluded the birthplace of Lord Ram at Ayodhya but not the birthplace of Lord Krishna in Mathura, though both are the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the creator,โ€ it said.

The plea alleged that the Act is void and unconstitutional for many reasons and it infringes on the rights of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs to manage, maintain and administer the places of worship and pilgrimage.

The plea has sought to declare that sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Act are void and unconstitutional for allegedly being violative of Articles 14 (equality before law), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth), 21 (protection of life and personal liberty), 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion), 26 (freedom to manage religious affairs) and 29 (protection of interests of minorities) of the Constitution in so far as they seek to validate the โ€œplaces of worshipโ€ illegally constructed by the barbaric invaders.

Several other pleas, including the one filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, challenging the validity of certain provisions of the 1991 Act have already been filed in the apex court.

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