Places of Worship Act: Supreme Court allows petitioners to file intervention applications

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The Supreme Court of India allowed petitioners challenging the provisions of the Places of Worship Act 1991 to file intervention applications in pending pleas.

The Supreme Court of India while hearing the pleas challenging the provisions of the Places of Worship Act 1991 has granted liberty to the petitioners for filing intervention applications in their already pending PILs on the identical issue. The order which was gone a bench chaired by Justices DY Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala said that the petitioners with their intervention pleas are going to be ready to supplement the grounds of the challenge within the pending petitions.

During the hearing, while the bench asked questions on what percentage petitions are to be filed on the problem, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who is appearing for one amongst the petitioners, said that the fresh plea will be tagged together with the pending ones. However, turning down the suggestion, the bench stated that the petitioners can intervene within the pending matter rather than tagging the pleas.

Further, answering another senior advocate Vijay Hansaria who raised concerns regarding some additional points of not being entertained within the intervention process, the SC bench ordered that the petitioner are going to be at the freedom to supplement the submissions within the main petition.

Notably, this comes in line with the multiple pleas which are filed before the Supreme Court challenging the Places of Worship Act 1991 claiming that the act takes away the rights of communities, including Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs to revive their places of worship and pilgrimages destroyed within the past by the invaders. The petitions were filed by retired officer Anil Kabotra, advocates Chandra Shekhar and Rudra Vikram Singh, Devkinandan Thakur Ji, Swami Jeetendranand Saraswati, and former Bharatiya Janata Party MP Chintamani Malviya.

In a number of the PILs filed before the court, it levels several allegations including one challenging the constitutional validity of several sections under the 1991 Act.

Also calling it "void and unconstitutional" for several reasons, the plea said that it offends the rights of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs to profess, practice, and propagate their religion and further also bars them from owning or acquiring religious properties belonging to the deity.