SC to hear plea on easing restrictions on worship at Ayodhya

SC to hear plea on easing restrictions on worship at Ayodhya

"We will consider your plea," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma said while asking Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, a party in the matter, to move a fresh application in this regard.

"You have to a file proper application and then only the respondents can file response," the Bench said and gave three weeks time to him to submit the application. The Janata Party chief told the court that he has filed an affidavit as directed by it in March last year which contains the prayers sought by him.

"My prayer is against the restrictions imposed on worship," he said and drew the attention of the bench that he has been impleaded as a party in the pending matter. During the brief hearing, Swamy clarified to the bench that he was not raising the question of whether Ram temple be built at the site or not but restricting his prayers to worship of Lord Rama in the makeshift temple.

He has alleged that authorities in Ayodhya have put unreasonable restrictions on worshipping of Lord Rama in the temple at the disputed site. Earlier on January 29, he had submitted that irrespective of the final outcome relating to the title deed dispute pending in the Allahabad High Court, the authorities should ensure adequate arrangements for devotees to have a 'darshan' of the idols. Denial of the same was violative of their fundamental rights, he had said.

Swamy has contended that the regulations imposed on the puja practice by the Uttar Pradesh Government in consultation with the Statutory Receiver, the Commissioner, Faizabad District, were unreasonable and unnecessarily harsh. "According to this applicant (Swamy), these (regulations) are highly derogatory, humiliating and unreasonable and particularly harsh on aged, infirm or even female devotees," the affidavit placed by him in support of his application before the bench said.

Swamy had said the matter has to be heard urgently as the question of public health and morality arises in it and he was "seeking relief on behalf on the devotees". He had sought that the "overzealous oppressive restrictions" be relaxed within the main framework of the ingredients of the status quo ordered in Section 7(2) of the Acquisition of Certain Areas Ayodhya Act.

He had submitted that the earlier order of the apex court on May 10, 1996 directing to maintain status quo had stayed all "the humane directions passed by the Allahabad High Court to facilitate and ameliorate conditions for Hindu pilgrims visiting the shrine." Swamy had further submitted that the status quo order passed by the apex court in the special leave petition pending before it was acting as a hindrance and sought the implementation of the directions passed by the High Court.

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