India

MPs absent, Bills seeking repeal of places of worship Act, on UCC not introduced

As a Varanasi court continues hearing the civil suit on the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute, a Private Member’s Bill moved by a BJP MP demanding repeal of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, was listed for introduction in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

However, the bill was not introduced as MP Harnath Singh Yadav, who had given the notice to introduce it, was not present in the House when his name was called.

Fellow BJP MP Kirori Lal Meena, whose Private Members’ Bill on Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is pending for introduction from 2020, was again absent. Meena had given the notice to introduce the bill on UCC in 2020, but he was found absent on several occasions when his name was called to introduce it.

When contacted, Yadav said that he could not attend as he was unwell. He said the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, “violates fundamental rights such as the right to equality and the right to life, and also violates the constitutionally guaranteed right of citizens to religious liberty”.

The law, introduced in 1991, seeks to maintain the “religious character” of places of worship that existed in 1947, except for the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, which was already in court.

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