The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked senior advocate Aman Lekhi to explain on what basis he told the Delhi High Court that excavation at the disputed area near the Jama Masjid Metro station site was carried out at the behest of local MLA Shoaib Iqbal.
Lekhi had brought the construction activity of the alleged "illegal mosque" at Subhash Park before the notice of the HC that took suo-motu cognisance and ordered the structure’s demolition. Iqbal has challenged the order before SC.
Directing Lekhi to file an affidavit, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said the alleged unauthorised construction of the mosque was not a simple case of illegal structure as it raised a "larger" issue.
"The issue is larger than one of the simple unauthorised construction," the bench observed while extending its status quo order till November 8, the next date of hearing.
The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) told the bench during the hearing that the disputed site was a "protected area" under its conservation law and, hence, no construction could be carried out there.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), the custodian of the park where the structure was allegedly built by Iqbal and his supporters over the purported ruins of a Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque, stuck to its earlier stand that the structure was “unauthorised”.
The SC is hearing Iqbal’s appeal against the HC order that also issued contempt proceedings against him for allegedly trespassing and building a mosque on the government land.
The HC had on July 30 directed ASI and NDMC to demolish the structure.