UPSC Current affairs - Places of Worship Act

Places of Worship Act



  • Amidst the controversy going on around the Gyanvapi Mosque, the law which was passed in 1991 has come into relevance.


What is the issue?

  • A video survey at the Gyanvapi Mosque compex was done where a Shivling is said to be have found.
  • After this the Supreme Court has directed to the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure the protection of the mosque


About the Places of Worship Act

  • This law which was enacted in 1991 directs that the status of all places of worship in the country as on 15th August 1947 should remain the same.
  • But an exception was given to Babri Masjid – Ramjanmabhoomi site which was under a bone of contention.
  • The act prescribes no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
  • One more significant provision under the act is it prohibits any legal proceedings from being instituted regarding the character of a place of worship, and declares that all suits and appeals pending before any court or authority on the cut-off date regarding the conversion of the character of a place of worship will come to an end.

Exceptions Under the law:
  • The act clearly states that the provisions under the act will not be applicable to ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites as they are already under the cover of other law such as Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
  • And also the law will not be applicable to any suit that has already been settled or disposed before 1991, that is before the act came into force.
  • The act has also exempted the Babri Masjid dispute from its purview.


What has been the opinion of the Supreme Court?
  • The Supreme Court in the Ayodhya Verdict had stated that the act imposes a non-derogable obligation towards enforcing our commitment to secularism.
  • Also court stressed upon how retrogressive actions will be a threat to a democratic nation and also mentioned that non retrogression is a fundamental constitutional principle.
  • The court has made it clear that historical wrongs cannot be corrected by taking the law into the hands.
  • And also stated that the law has preserved secularism by not letting any changes to happen.

Source The Hindu