Ayodhya verdict | Don’t tamper with other places of worship, says apex court

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi (centre) flanked by (left to right) Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice Dhahanjaya Y. Chandrachud and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer after delivering the verdict on Ayodhya case.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court in its Ayodhya judgment cautions the State and the citizen not to take law into their hands and forcibly convert the religious character of places of worship across the country.

The Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India delves deep into Parliament’s objective in enacting the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991. The Act prohibits the conversion of religious places of worship as it existed at the time of Independence.

The many pages devoted in the judgment to the 1991 Act is significant. The Supreme Court has condemned the desecration and demolition of the Babri Masjid. A temple has now been allowed to be built where the 16th century mosque once stood.


The Bench said the Act “speaks to the future by mandating that the character of a place of public worship shall not be altered”.

The court said the law addresses itself to the State as much as to every citizen of the nation.

“Independence was a watershed moment to heal the wounds of the past. Historical wrongs cannot be remedied by the people taking the law into their own hands.”


The norms of the law bind those who govern the affairs of the nation at every level.

“Places of Worship Act is an affirmation of the solemn duty which was cast upon the State to preserve and protect the equality of all faiths as an essential constitutional value, a norm which has the status of being a basic feature of the Constitution,” the Supreme Court addressed the government.

“The Places of Worship Act imposes a non-derogable obligation towards enforcing our commitment to secularism under the Constitution… It preserves non-retrogression as an essential feature of our secular values,” the court said.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 1:28:07 PM |

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