NEW DELHI: A Hindu organisation's PIL seeking scrapping of a 1991
prohibiting alteration of the character of religious places, ostensibly to revive litigation on disputed religious sites in Varanasi and Mathura, saw Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind move the Supreme Court saying this was a blatant attempt to correct historical wrongs.
The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, barred courts from entertaining any litigation regarding change of character or
of religious places, with the sole exception of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya. The law mandates maintenance of status quo as existing on August 15, 1947. A PIL by an organisation of priests through advocate Vishnu S Jain had argued that many temples and places of worship of Hindus were converted into mosques and, hence, Hindus should have a right to prove historical ownership over these, which was barred by the 1991 law .
The Jamiat, through advocate Ejaz
, said the 1991 law was "intrinsically related to the obligation of a secular state". "It reflects the commitment of India to equality of all religions and equal protection to all religious places. Historical wrongs cannot be remedied by people by taking law in their hands," it said.
"If the Supreme Court entertains the PIL, it will open the floodgates of litigation against countless mosques in the country and the religious divide, from which the country is recovering in the aftermath of the
, will only be widened," the organisation added.