Gyanvapi | National

Gyanvapi case | Parties worry over Varanasi court order

Court Commissioners Vishal Singh (2L) and Ajay Pratap Singh (L) with their team leave after the third and last day of a videographic survey at Gyanvapi Mosque complex, in Varanasi, Monday, May 16, 2022.

Court Commissioners Vishal Singh (2L) and Ajay Pratap Singh (L) with their team leave after the third and last day of a videographic survey at Gyanvapi Mosque complex, in Varanasi, Monday, May 16, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Reacting to the Varanasi Court order to seal the place where the Shivling was discovered during the survey of Gyanvapi mosque, Opposition leaders and academicians expressed fear that the order undermines “The Places of Worship Act, 1991”, which prohibits intervention in any religious place barring Ayodhya.

The Act mandates that the character of all religious places of worship should be maintained as it was on August 15, 1947, and no suit or proceedings shall lie in a court of law with respect to the character of places of worship. This effectively barred courts from entertaining cases that raises disputes over places of worship that existed as of August 15, 1947. The law further provided that such cases already pending at the courts would stand abated.

“This order itself changes the religious nature of the masjid. This is a violation of 1991 Act. This was my apprehension and it has come true. Gyanvapi Masjid was and will remain a masjid till Judgement Day Inshallah”Asaduddin OwaisiAll India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader 

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi called it a repeat of the December 1949 order on Babri Masjid. “This order itself changes the religious nature of the masjid. This is a violation of 1991 Act. This was my apprehension and it has come true. Gyanvapi Masjid was and will remain a masjid till Judgement Day Inshallah,” he tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that the Varanasi court's order clearly went beyond the Places of Worship Act, 1991, and also bypassed the Ayodhya judgement of the Supreme court. “The Ayodhya judgement had underscored and upheld the Places of Worship Act. Justice Chandrachud bench is expected to hear the Gyanvapi case tomorrow. He was also part of the Ayodhya judgement so one hopes that the Varanasi Court's judgement will be suitably reviewed,” Mr. Khurshid said.

‘Old disputes will re-emerge’

Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor of Nalsar University of Law in Hyderabad, said that once the Places of Worship Act, 1991, is removed, all old disputes would spill open. “The Constitutionality of the Places of Worship Act, 1991, is under challenge in the Supreme Court. If the Apex Court strikes it down or the Parliament amends the law, both of which is possible in a Parliamentary democracy -- if this happens, all the old disputes will at once open up for debate,” Mr. Mustafa said.

PDP leader and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that the BJP supporters should for once and all publish a list of Masjids they are interested in. She asked, “Instead of talking about the Masjids, why don't they tell us when exactly will they be able to fulfill their promise of 2 crore jobs annually and what are they doing about inflation. Will demolishing the Gyanvapi mosque, make everything okay?”


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Printable version | May 17, 2022 9:10:07 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gyanvapi-court-order-undermines-places-of-worship-act-1991/article65419654.ece