If the court accepts the petition filed by Hindu saints for hearing, then fear will spread among justice- and peace-loving people of the country, particularly Muslims, says Jamiat
NEW DELHI— The Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking rejection of a Hindu group’s plea challenging the constitutional validity of Section 4 of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which ensures status quo of all religious places in the country as they were on August 15, 1947.
Vishwa Bhadra Pujari Purohit Mahasangh, a little-known outfit, has challenged the 1991 Act saying the law protected ‘barbarous action of invaders who had converted the Hindu places of worship’.
The plea is apparently to challenge the presence of two mosques in Varanasi (Gyan Vapi Masjid) and Mathura (Masjid and Eidgah).
In its intervention plea filed in the top court Saturday evening by Advocate on Record Ejaz Maqbool, the Jamiat has first sought rejection of Mahasangh’s plea and if not then Jamiat should be accepted as an intervenor in the case.
“First of all, the court should not accept the petition filed by Hindu saints for hearing and reject it. Because if the court accepts it for hearing, then fear will spread among justice- and peace-loving people of the country, particularly Muslims because since the Babri Masjid verdict, Muslims are concerned about their religious places. Moreover, it will also hit the national integrity,” Jamiat said in the plea.
Jamiat has also said that in the Babri verdict in November last year, the top court has accepted the legal and constitutional validity of the Places of Worship Act 1991. “By challenging that law now, attempts are being made to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the country,” said Jamiat.
There were two purposes of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 – to stop change in status of religious places and maintain the status quo of religious places as they were in 1947. Both purposes were admitted by the five-judge bench of the top court in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi verdict, it further said.
“The Places of Worship Act strengthens the foundation of the Constitution and this has been noted in the Babri verdict. Moreover, it is the duty of the secular nation to protect this law and it is also its responsibility to protect religious places of all religions,” Jamiat said in the petition.
“If the top court accepted the petition of Hindu saints for hearing, then it will open the floodgates of litigation further hampering peace in the country,” it said.
Gulzar Ahmed Azmi, head of Jamiat’s legal cell, said that “there are hundreds of mosques which Hindus claim were temples demolished by Mughal emperors and converted into mosques. Therefore, to uphold the supremacy of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991, Jamiat will fight with full strength in the Supreme Court.”
In the unanimous verdict on November 9, 2019, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had awarded the Hindu side the entire land where the 16th century Babri Masjid stood in Ayodhya of Uttar Pradesh till it was demolished by a Hindu mob on December 6, 1992. The court, however, said the demolition was a criminal act. It also ordered the central and state governments to provide five-acres land at a prominent place in Ayodhya for construction of a mosque. The Muslim leadership peacefully denounced the verdict and rejected the alternate land offer.