When a place of worship was taken over by the Central Govt. it was pleaded that the action of the central Govt. would amount to violation of the right to freedom of religion. The Central Govt. defended its action on the ground that it was necessary for maintenance of Public order. Decide.
The Central Govt. can validly defend its action of taking over a place of worship on the ground that it was necessary for the maintenance of Public order. The action of the central Govt. would not amount to a violation of the right to freedom of religion.
In Ismail Faruqui v. Union of India (1994) 6 SCC 360, the Supreme Court by a majority has held that the State can in the exercise of its sovereign power to acquire places of worship like mosques, churches, temples etc., which is independent of Art. 300-A (Right to Property) of the Constitution, if it is necessary for the maintenance of law and order.
Such acquisition per se does not violate Arts. 25 and 26 of the Constitution. What is protected under Arts. 25 and 26 is a religious practice which forms an essential and integral part of religion.
The above case was referred to the Supreme Court for its advisory opinion by the President on Dec. 6, 1992 due to the demolition of disputed structure of Babari Mosque at Ayodhya, law and order in the country was disturbed order to defuse the crises, the Union Government acquired the whole property surrounding the mosque.
This was challenged by the petitioners on the ground that it was violative of Art. 25 and 26 of the Constitution as they were deprived of their right to worship in the mosque.
The Court held the Act as valid, since it does not interfere with the essential element of religion. While the right to worship is an essential part of a religion, it does not include the right to worship at any place and every place.
Similarly, in Gulam Kadar Ahmadbhai Menon v. Surat Municipal Corporation, AIR 1998 Guj. 234, the Gujarat High Court has held that the right to religion guaranteed to citizens under Acts. 25 and 26 of the Constitution does not prohibit State to acquire any place of worship for a public purpose.