Significance and Legality The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991: An analysis in special case of Gyanvapi dispute  

Significance and Legality The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991: An analysis in special case of Gyanvapi dispute  

Significance and Legality The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991: An analysis in special case of Gyanvapi dispute – Today Current Affairs

Context : 

In the midst of an economical crisis and inflation , another controversial issue has erupted in India . That issue is related to the Gyanvapi issue. Many Hindu people claimed that , earlier there was a temple at the place of this mosque and Aurangzeb demolished this temple of Visweswara (Kashi Vishnatha) and constructed the mosque . After the petition given by Hindu community, a survey is conducted after the order of the Varanasi court. In this survey , also called Shivling is found . Now Supreme Court has also ordered the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure protection of the area at the Gyanvapi mosque complex where a ‘shivling’ is said to have been found during the survey there.

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  • There is an Act related to place of worship which was enacted in 1991 (The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991) . This Act directs to freeze the status of all places of worship in the country as on August 15, 1947. The survey of this mosque and the claim over this mosque is the violation of this act or not, it must be checked by the honorable supreme court .  The Hindu Analysis
  •  However some places of the worship are exempted from this act like Ram Janmbhumi and Babri Mosque. In fact , when this act was enacted , the issue of Ram Janmbhumi was prejudiced . But The issue of Gyanvapi would be exempted from this act or not , the honorable court will explain it . 

What is Gyanvapi and Kashi Vishwanath Temple : The Hindu Analysis

  • Gyanvapi is a mosque contiguous to Kashi Vishwanath Temple . As per the historians (mainly A. S Altekar) , the temple of Kashi Vishvanath was demolished by the Aurangzeb and the main Shiva Ling was uprooted , instead of this temple a mosque was built during the time of Aurangzeb . 
  • In fact ,this was the place where Darasikoh had translated many Sanskrit texts (Mainly Upanishad) therefore, because of the political reason Aurangzeb had to order to demolish it . But it is surprising that idols are still secured. Nobody broke those idols. Before the Gyanvapi mosque, was there any mosque ? Some historians explain that during the time of Razia (12th century) a mosque was also there.  The Hindu Analysis
  • As per the sacred Sanskrit text (Puranas and the Vedas , mainly the interpretation of Vedas), on this place , lord Shiva Shiva had dug  the trident in the earth and water came out from here and on the same trident Kashi is constructed . Local folk also explain in this regard. The Vapi means the water and the Gyan means the knowledge . Therefore Muslim community also accepted this folk . 
  • If we look geographically , this is the place of Varanasi where the maximum gravitational force and the magnetic force is found (Many surveys had been done by the geography department of the BHU). Therefore definitely this place was the place of concern and during the ancient period a temple might be there . We recovered a seal from Rajghat on which the Visveswara is written. All these explain that Varanasi has been famous for the worship of Lord Shiva for thousands of years . The Hindu Analysis
  • During the period of Akbar a temple was also built on this place . It is generally accepted by historians that the old Kashi Vishwanath temple was constructed by Man Singh during the time of Akbar and after its demolition , it was again reconstructed during the time of Ahilyabai Holkar . Ahilyabai Holkar , if wanted could take concern about the mosque also . But she did not. 
  • When the British arrived in India, they started to interpret Indian history for colonial purposes and this was the James prince who did a lot of work on Varanasi and he explained how Aurangjeb demolished the temple and built the mosque . 

What is the place of Worship Act 1991 : The Hindu Analysis

  • In March 2021, the Supreme Court asked the Center to respond to a petition that challenged the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The law was enacted to freeze the status of all places of worship in the country as on August 15, 1947.
  • The Act says that no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section. It contains a declaration that a place of worship shall continue to be as it was on August 15, 1947. 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 shall abate. In other words, all pending cases will come to an end, and no further proceedings can be filed. The Hindu Analysis
  • Now the decision of the Varanasi court regarding survey is limited only up to survey or it would give birth to another controversial issue, time will tell . 
  • However there are some exemptions to this act . It 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. It will also not be applicable on those disputes which have been finally settled . In fact these types of exemptions were given to resolve the issue of the Ram Janmbhumi. But the question is that , if this act was not legally valid , then the honorable supreme court should raise the issue in this regard . In Fact this act is a tool through which the secular structure of India would be protected . In the final verdict of the Ayodhya case , honorable supreme court has accepted that the Act “imposes a non-derogable obligation towards enforcing our commitment to secularism”. A five judges bench had already stated regarding this act that the law can not improve those mistakes which had done in the past . and to maintain the communal structure of India such an act plays a significant role . In preserving the character of places of public worship, Parliament has mandated in no uncertain terms that history and its wrongs shall not be used as instruments to oppress the present and the future.” The Hindu Analysis
  • The Hindu petitioners are arguing that The Hindus has been worshiping on this place for long time and there has not been any changes of this worship place after 1957 

Today Current Affairs


  • We are residing in a secular and independent country and we achieved this independence after a long struggle and huge sacrifices . Therefore this must be the duty of every citizen to create such an atmosphere where the element of integration could be generated. We should work only for the construction of this country , not destruction. In the history of the world there have been many mistakes done during that time but this is not the time to take revenge for the mistakes done in our past . We should know the crux of the religion which is humanism , which is morality and righteous conduct . These types of the issue are being erupted only for the political benefits so that the mind of the public could be destructed and deviated from the real issues like increasing poverty, unemployment, inflation etc . 
  • This is also the duty of the state and the honorable court to maintain the communal harmony in this country. Those things which could hamper the brotherhood of the country should be avoided and completely banned . 

Here we mention all information about Significance and Legality The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991: An analysis in special case of Gyanvapi dispute  Today Current Affairs.

Source ; The Hindu , Indian Express

GS Paper I, II, Essay 


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