SYLLABUS SECTION: GS II (Social Issues)
Why in News?
The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the order of a civil court in Varanasi directing a video graphics survey of the temple-mosque complex regarding the PLACES OF WORSHIP ACT.
PLACES OF WORSHIP ACT
- The Places of Worship Act was passed by the Parliament in 1991 and aims to maintain the status quo between religions.
- In simple words, it is an Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship.
- Section 4(1) of the Act says, the religious character of a place of worship “shall continue to be the same as it existed” on August 15, 1947.
- As per section 3 of the Places of worship act, it should be a place of worship of any religious denomination into a place of worship of a different religious denomination.
- It bars conversions even within different sects of the same religious denomination.
EXEMPTIONS UNDER THE ACT:
- The Act exempts any “ancient and historical monument or an archaeological site or remains covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (24 of 1958) or any other law for the time being in force.
- As per section 5 of any cases pertaining to the Babri-Ram Janmabhoomi, pending disputes will be excluded from the Act.
ISSUES WITH THE LAW
- The law bars judicial review, which is a basic feature of the Constitution.
- It imposes an “arbitrary irrational retrospective cut-off date”, and abridges the right to religion of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs.
- The temple-mosque complex in Varanasi clearly shows that the mosque stands over a rundown temple.
- Videography shows the presence of Hindu deities inside the mosque.
- Right-wing propagandists highlight the intention of Aurangzeb behind leaving remnants of the temple to keep reminding communities of their historical fate and to remind coming generations of rulers of their past glory and power.
Read more: UPSC Current Affairs
Source: Indian Express