The Delhi high court on Friday directed the Archaeological Survey of India to file within a week a report on the steps it had taken so far to ascertain if a Mughal-era mosque existed at the site where digging for the Jama Masjid metro station was being undertaken.
A three-judge bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri also wanted the ASI to explain what steps it proposed to take and a list of articles it had gathered so far.
This comes a month after the court ordered a stay on all construction in the area and asked the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to hand over the site to the ASI.
The court had on July 30 given a free hand to the ASI to demolish the structure which had come up at the site, allegedly raised by Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal and his supporters.The court had said even if the ASI concluded that a temple or a mosque existed there, the land will continue to remain with the ASI which will decide on allowing construction of a monument.
"Even if by the end result of scientific expedition the ASI established that during old times, a temple or a mosque once stood here, and it is to be treated as protected monument, the land will have to remain with the ASI, which is to see whether to build or not to build a monument, or to preserve it in its natural state, so as to open the place for public use," said the bench, which also had justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Rajiv Shakder.
The court, meanwhile, refused to pass an order on a petition filed by the police urging the court to ask the MLA himself to demolish the structure to prevent communal strife in the area.
It also refused to pass order on two other pleas filed by Iqbal seeking a stay on demolition order and by Hindu Mahasabha seeking contempt of court proceedings against ASI and the police for not implementing the demolition order.