Places of Worship Act: SC Gives Further Extension to Centre for its Response

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NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court on Monday further extended the time for the Central government to file its response on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of certain provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that consultation is going on and the government will file the reply before hearing begins, while seeking more time to file reply on the petitions.

“My lords, kindly fix a date. We may file it before then,” he said.

The bench, also comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha, decided to give Centre time until the end of February 2023 to file its response and added that it would list the matter on a non-miscellaneous day.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal submitted that a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had upheld the Act in the Ayodhya judgment and hence, the PILs are not maintainable. Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, representing one of the petitioners, however, said that the challenge is made against the legislation and not against any observation in the judgment.

The bench, in the order, recorded that Sibal sought to raise certain objections in connection with the maintainability of the petitions and added that such preliminary objections would be considered at the stage of hearing.

On November 14 last year, the Supreme Court granted time to the Central government till December 12 to file a comprehensive affidavit on petitions challenging the validity of certain provisions of the Act.

On October 21, the bench directed the Centre to file an affidavit on or before October 31. It had listed the matter for further hearing on November 14.

On March 12, 2021, a bench headed by then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had sought the Centre’s response on the plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, one of the petitioners’ in the matter, challenging the validity of certain provisions of the law. -IANS

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