On 18 September 1991
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, and
for matters connected therewith
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Forty-second Year of the Republic of India.
The law kept the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi at Ayodhya out of its purview, mainly because it was the subject of prolonged litigation. It was also aimed at providing scope for a possible negotiated settlement.
MAIN OBJECTIVE OF THIS ACT
The main objective of this act is to freeze the place of worship as it existed on 15 August 1947. And due to this act government was thinking that they are helping to preserve the communal harmony. Congress doesn’t want Hindus to reclaim the places of worship. Which they have loosed because of Mughals. Home Minister, S.B. Chavan, said in the Lok Sabha on September 10, 1991 “We see this Bill as a measure to provide and develop our glorious traditions of love, peace and harmony.”
Features of the 1991 act
According to this act the places of worship will remain as it is on 15 August 1947. Act also said that no worshiping place will be converted by any person .
The cases regarding places of worship which are pending before any court or authority on August 15, 1947, will abate as soon as the law comes into force.
There is an exception regarding the place of worship. Is that the places which are converted after 15 August 1947 will not be included in this act.
These provisions will not apply to ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites. And remains that are covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
The Act does not apply to the place of worship referred to as Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya. This law will have overriding effect over any other law in force.
Political response back then
When this act was passed in Parliament the Congress was in majority. Bharatiya Janta Party was a strong opposition back then and this act have faced backlash because of its psuedo secularism.
BJP also questioned Parliament’s legislative competence to enact the law as it pertained to places of pilgrimages or burial grounds, which were under the State List. BJP leader have said this act as an example of “psuedo secularism .”
The Congress party is against HINDUS from the beginning and by passing this law in parliament they have proved it.
The secularism for the Political parties like Congress is upto hindus and not for any other religion.
REFERENCE OF THIS ACT IN VARIOUS JUDGMENTS
When the Ram janmabhoomi case was in Prayagraj High court the reference of this act was taken . Justice Dharma Veer Sharma is one of the judge of High court that decided the Ayodhya case.
He referred this act as following observation “The Places of Worship Act, 1991 does not prohibit those cases where declaration is sought for a period prior to the Act came into force or for enforcement of right which was recognized before coming into force of the Act.”
The Supreme Court criticised this view, saying it was contrary to the scheme of the law.
Supreme court have concluded that Justice Sharma is directly contrary to Section 4(2) of the Act, it noted, and rejected it as erroneous.
At present Kashivishvanath mandir case the district court at Varanasi but the Prayagraj High court citing the statutory bar on such suits that seek to alter the places of worship. The matter is still pending.
Different ways in which the act can be imposed
As per the act the places for worship will remain same as it is on 15 August 1947.
But if Congress want they can implement this act such that the places which are converted in past will be given back to HINDUS. Here comes the political agenda of Congress of soft corners towards minorities.
And on other hand congress can also revoke the temples permanently from government.