Places of Worship Act: SC extends deadline for Centre's affidavittext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court allowed the Centre to take time till December 12 to file a comprehensive affidavit to the petitions that challenged certain provisions of the Places of Worship Act, 1991. The law prohibits the filing of a lawsuit from reclaiming a place of worship or seeking a change in its character from what prevailed on August 15, 1947, PTI reported.
A bench of Chief Justice of I India D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala extended the time to the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre. Earlier, the bench had granted time till October 31 to the Centre to file its reply to the petitions.
Mehta had sought time and submitted, "I need to consult with the Government for filing a detailed counter. If some time can be given," before the court.
After taking note of the submissions that due deliberations with government authorities were needed and asked the Centre to file a "comprehensive" one on or before December 12, the bench adjourned.
The court also directed the Centre to share its response with the parties concerned. It posted hearing pleas on the matter for the first week of January 2023.
Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that he has not sought to set aside the Act in his petition. He said that, like the Ayodhya Ram temple dispute, the matters pertaining to alleged disputed sites at Kashi and Mathura be kept out of the purview of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
"I am not asking for the quashing of the Act. But two temples be added, and the Act can stand as it is," he said.
The bench said it would consider Swamy's plea on the next date of hearing.
The SC heard multiple petitions on the matter, including the one filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay who has said sections 2, 3, 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. Upadhyay demanded the said sections be quashed on grounds including that these provisions take away the right of judicial remedy to reclaim a place of worship of any person or a religious group.