A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of a 1991 law by BJP leader and an advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. The key argument is that the Act created an "arbitrary and irrational retrospective cut-off date" of August 15, 1947, for maintaining the character of places of worship-pilgrimage against encroachment done by "fundamentalist-barbaric invaders and lawbreakers".
Upadhyay contended that the Centre had barred the remedies against illegal encroachment on the places of worship and pilgrimages of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs, who cannot file suit or approach a High Court. He sought a declaration from the court that the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 was void and unconstitutional for being violative of fundamental rights to equality, freedom of religious practice, and maintaining religious places, among others. The law validated ‘Places of Worship’, illegally made by barbaric invaders.
"Hindus have been fighting for the restoration of birthplace of Lord Krishna for hundreds of years but while enacting the Act. Centre has excluded 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," he said.
Maintaining that restriction to move court is against the principle of rule of law, and secularism. He further claimed that if the Ayodhya case had not been decided by the Supreme Court's Constitution bench on 9 November 2019. Then Hindus would have been denied justice even after 500 years of the demolition of the temple.
Upadhyay contended that under the Hindu Law, the deity and its property are never lost, and devotees have the right to sue a wrongdoer for restoration of the deity and its property. So, illegal encroachment by other faith won't yield any right and equity in favour of usurper. He claimed that the Centre has no power to close the doors of courts and bar judicial remedies against illegal encroachment on the places of worship and pilgrimage.
In June, Lucknow-based Vishwa Bhadra Pujari Purohit Mahasangh had already filed a plea in the top court questioning the validity of the provisions of the 1991 Act.
The move has assumed significance as there have been demands to resume litigation on Kashi-Mathura, related to temples of Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna respectively at Uttar Pradesh. A suit in Mathura court has already been admitted for consideration.
Muslim scholar’s organisation, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind had already approached the Supreme Court to oppose the plea. They are arguing that "this will create fear in the minds of the community concerning their places of worship, especially in the aftermath of the Ayodhya dispute and will destroy the secular fabric of the nation".