The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed the construction of a mosque at the Jama Masjid metro station site where ruins of a structure believed to be of Mughal era were dug up.
The court also ordered the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to hand over the site to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) so that it could be ascertained if the ruins were indeed from the Mughal era and remains of the Akbarabadi Masjid as claimed by Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal.
Led by Iqbal, local residents have begun constructing a mosque over the ruins, which surfaced during digging by locals, led by Iqbal, who all along have been claiming the presence of a mosque at the station site.
A three-judge bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri passed the order after senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for a group of lawyers, sought its intervention accusing Iqbal of illegally constructing a mosque on government land and creating communal tension. Showing to the judges a photo published in Friday's Hindustan Times of policemen standing guard at the construction of the "unauthorised structure", Lekhi said, "Law enforcement authorities remained mute spectators when the legislator took law into his hands."
The court also asked the civic body to cordon off the area.
"There should not be further construction on the site. The NDMC shall cordon off the area by setting up barriers and the police are also hereby directed to render assistance to the agency," the court said.
Asking Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit to deal with the issue expeditiously, the court asked the Delhi government to hold a high-level meeting of senior officers from various departments, including ASI, NDMC and DUAC.
The court has posted the matter for July 25.