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Places of Worship Act 1991 UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • In staying the execution of an Allahabad High Court order to appoint a commissioner to inspect the Shahi Idgah Mosque in Mathura.

  • The Supreme Court has stalled for a while a likely move to get the status of the place of worship altered through the courts. 

  • The top court has halted the appointment of the commission after finding it was sought on vague grounds without any particular reason.

Places of Worship Act 1991

  • It is described as “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 as it existed on the 15th day of August 1947.

  • The disputed site at Ayodhya was exempted from the Act. 

  • Due to this exemption, the trial in the Ayodhya case proceeded even after the enforcement of this law.

  • Besides the Ayodhya dispute, the Act also exempted:

  1. Any place of worship which is an ancient and historical monument, or an archaeological site covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

  2. A suit that has been finally settled or disposed of.

  3. Any dispute that has been settled by the parties or conversion of any place that took place by acquiescence before the Act commenced.

  • Section 6 of the Act prescribes a punishment of a maximum of three years imprisonment along with a fine for contravening the provisions of the Act.

  • Section 3: This bars the conversion, in full or part, of a place of worship of any religious denomination into a place of worship of a different religious denomination or even a different segment of the same religious denomination.

  • Section 4(1): It declares that the religious character of a place of worship “shall continue to be the same as it existed” on 15th August 1947.

  • Section 4(2): It says any suit or legal proceeding with respect to the conversion of the religious character of any place of worship existing on 15th August, 1947, pending before any court, shall abate and no fresh suit or legal proceedings shall be instituted.

    • The proviso to this subsection saves suits, appeals, and legal proceedings that are pending on the date of commencement of the Act if they pertain to the conversion of the religious character of a place of worship after the cut-off date.

  • Section 5: It stipulates that the Act shall not apply to the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, and to any suit, appeal, or proceeding.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Places of Worship Act 1991 UPSC NOTE
Places of Worship Act 1991 UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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