The Delhi high court on Monday directed both Muslims and Hindus to keep off the site near Jama Masjid from where the ruins of a structure, believed to be of the Mughal era Akbarabadi mosque, surfaced.
The court asked them to leave the matter to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
A bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri said even if the ASI concluded that a temple or mosque existed there, the land will continue to remain with the ASI which will decide whether to allow the construction of a monument.
"Even if by the end result of scientific expedition, the ASI established that… a temple or a mosque once stood here, and it is to be treated as a protected monument, the land will 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,” said the bench also comprising of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakder.While Muslims claim that the Akbarabadi mosque existed at the site, the Hindu Mahasabha has sought permission to construct a temple at the site, claiming the relics found at the spot had been placed after removing the relics of Hindu and Jain temples.
The court also slammed Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal for "taking law into his hands” by trying to construct the mosque. "Such an approach shows that warring parties for their own narrow political motives are paying lip service to the fundamental edifice of our State…” the court said.
The judges noted that a pointed query was posed to the MLA’s lawyer as to whether there was any prior permission for the construction and that he conceded there was none.
"He thus acknowledged that the construction was unauthorised,” the bench noted.