PLACES OF WORSHIP (SPECIAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1991
THE PLACES OF WORSHIP (SPECIAL PROVISIONS) ACT, 1991
ACT No. 42 OF 1991
An Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and toprovide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worshipas it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947, and for matters connectedtherewith or incidental thereto.
BE it enacted by Parliament inthe Forty–second Year of the Republicof India as follows: –
1.Short title, extent andcommencement: (1) ThisAct may be called the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
(3) The provisions of sections3,6 and 8 shall come into force at once and theremaining provisions of this Act shall be deemed to have come into force on the11th day of July, 1991.
2.Definitions: In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-
(a) "commencementof this Act" means the commencement of this Act on the 11th day of July,1991;
(b) "conversion",with its grammatical variations, includes alteration or change of whatevernature;
(c) "placeof worship" means a temple, mosque, gurudwara,church, monastery or any other place of public religious worship of anyreligious denomination or any section thereof, by whatever name called.
3.Bar of conversion of places ofworship: No person shall convert anyplace of worship of any religious denomination or any section thereof into aplace of worship of a different section of the same religious denomination orof a different religious denomination or any section thereof.
4.Declaration as to the religious characterof certain places of worship and bar of jurisdiction of courts, etc: (1) It is hereby declared thatthe religious character of a place of worship on the 15th day of August, 1947shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.
(2) If, on the commencement ofthis Act, any suit, appeal or other proceeding with respect to the conversionof the religious character of any place of worship, existing on the 15th day ofAugust, 1947, is pending before any court, tribunal or other authority, thesame shall abate, and no suit, appeal or other proceeding with respect to anysuch matter shall lie on or after such commencement in any court, tribunal orother authority:
Provided that if any suit,appeal or other proceeding, instituted or filed on the ground that conversionhas taken place in the religious character of any such place after the 15th dayof August, 1947, is pending on the commencement of this Act, such suit, appealor other proceeding shall not so abate and every such suit, appeal or otherproceeding shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of sub–section(1).
(3) Nothing contained in sub–section(1) and sub–section (2) shall apply to, –
(a) any place of worshipreferred to in the said sub–sections which is an ancient and historicalmonument or an archaeological site or remains covered by the Ancient Monumentsand Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (24 of 1958.) or any other lawfor the time being in force;
(b) any suit, appeal or otherproceeding, with respect to any matter referred to in sub–section (2),finally decided, settled or disposed of by a court, tribunal or other authoritybefore the commencement of this Act;
(c) anydispute with respect to any such matter settled by the parties amongstthemselves before such commencement;
(d) anyconversion of any such place effected before such commencement by acquiescence;
(e) anyconversion of any such place effected before such commencement which is notliable to be challenged in any court, tribunal or other authority being barredby limitation under any law for the time being in force.
5.Act not to apply to Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid: Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the place or place ofworship commonly known as Ram Janma Bhumi–Babri Masjidsituated in Ayodhya in the State of Uttar Pradesh and to any suit, appeal orother proceeding relating to the said place or place of worship.
6.Punishment for contravention of section3: (1) Whoever contravenes theprovisions of section 3 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term whichmay extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
(2) whoeverattempts to commit any offence punishable under sub–section (1) or to causesuch offence to be committed and in such attempt does any act towards thecommission of the offence shall be punishable with the punishment provided forthe offence.
(3) Whoever bets, or is a partyto a criminal conspiracy to commit, an offence punishable under sub–section(1) shall, whether such offence be or be not committed in consequence of suchabutment or in pursuance of such criminal conspiracy, and not withstandinganything contained in section 116 of the Indian Penal Code, be punishable withthe punishment provided for the offence.
7.Act to override otherenactments: Theprovisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistenttherewith contained in any other law for the time being in force or anyinstrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.
8.Amendment of Act 43 of 1951: In section 8 of theRepresentation of the People Act, 1951, in sub–section (1), –
(a) inclause (i), the word "or" shall be inserted at the end;
(b) afterclause (i), as so amended, the following clause shall be inserted, namely: –
"(j) section6 (offence of conversion of a place of worship) of the Places of Worship(Special Provisions) Act, 1991,".