SC extends time for Union to respond to pleas challenging Places of Worship Act

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the Union government an extension till October 31 to respond to a batch of petitions challenging the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

In September, the apex court granted two weeks to respond to the petitions to which the Union government has not filed its reply.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, raised the issue, prompting Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to seek another two weeks.

Mehta informed the court that the reply was still under consideration. The court will now hear the matter on November 14.

Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the court that the law had been passed without debates in Parliament. He said that certain additional questions about the law have been framed that was not considered by the Supreme Court in its Ayodhya judgement, which upheld the Places of Worship Act.

POW Act is 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 15 August 1947 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Several other pleas, including the one filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, challenging the validity of certain provisions of the 1991 Act are also considered by the court.