Places of Worship Act challenged in SC: ‘Passed in most undemocratic of manners possible’

A representative of the former royal family of Kashi has approached the Supreme Court challenging the Places of Worship Act, 1992.

The application by Maharaja Kumari Krishna Priya, daughter of the current head of the erstwhile royal family, and two others argue that the 1992 Act is “a textbook example of a law that was passed in the most undemocratic manner without any possible means.” To demand the reform of the purported religious co-civilizational sites concerning the fundamental rights of the affected parties, in particular, the rights of formerly colonized indigenous communities.

The petition, filed through advocate J Sai Deepak, has urged the court to allow him to be a party to the writ petitions – the issue already pending and listed for hearing before the Supreme Court on Friday so that they are in law. be able to present their arguments.

On the Places of Worship Act, the application said, “For a law that closes the doors of justice to the affected communities and parties, it is only ‘debate’ on three dates i.e. 23.08.1991, 09.09.1991 and 10.09.1991.” ‘ and the Bill was passed on the last of the above dates. The debate on 23.08.1991 clearly captures the fact that before the introduction of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Bill dated 22.08.1991 the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. Seven days’ notice was not given to the members.”

While it excluded the Ayodhya dispute from its purview, “it gives relief to the discriminatory, arbitrary and whimsical nature of the Act”, the petition said.

It submits that “a study should have been conducted to identify the number of pending disputes, who may have been entitled to similar exemption”. It urged the court to treat the claimants of other occupied religious sites at par with the owners of Ramjanmabhoomi so that they too have an opportunity to present evidence before the court to fix their case for the restoration of their sites.

The petition states that “it is indeed shocking that the government of an ‘independent’, formerly colonized country has deemed it appropriate to enact a law which prohibits the recapture of religious places occupied by indigenous/Indian belief systems.”
The Act, it added, “is a textbook example of oikophobia/oikomisia and misautogeny i.e., hatred or contempt for one’s own people and culture” and “demonstrates its “colonial consciousness…which perpetuates a state of affairs that existed during the period of colonisation, either Middle Eastern or European”.

The Act “actively stands in the way of exposing the truth through constitutional means before the court through legally admissible evidence”, the application said.

Stating that it cannot be argued that the Constitution places a low premium on truth and celebrates all other values, including secularism, at the cost of truth, the petition states that “every time the truth is tampered with in the name of secularism”. is pushed under, it contributes to communal disharmony”. Therefore, it is said, “To argue that truth should be a silent burial to preserve secularism and maintain communal harmony is to commit an error of logic, apart from insensitively presenting the evidence of the victims of the colonization.” The devastation of colonialism and its continuing injustice in “independent” India, namely their continued occupation of the religious and civilizational sites they hold dear.

The second applicant is Santosh Tamilarasan, a member of the Tuluva Vellalar community, who “reconstructed the Kapaleeswarar temple in Chennai after it was destroyed by the Portuguese” and who has a “special right of trusteeship in the Kapaleeswarar temple”. Tamilarasan has argued that “St. Thomas’ Basilica now stands in its place”.

The third applicant is a Vaishnavite, who said that he too has the “duty and right to demand the improvement of the Bindu Madhava temple”.

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