Delhi HC junks plea seeking to allow prayers at demolished mosque site | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi HC junks plea seeking to allow prayers at demolished mosque site

Feb 24, 2024 01:22 AM IST

Delhi High Court dismisses plea to allow night-long prayers at site of demolished 600-year-old mosque on Shab-E-Barat, citing possession by DDA.

The Delhi high court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking to allow people to visit the graves and offer night-long prayers, at the site where the 600-year-old Akhoondji masjid, graveyard and madrassa once stood, in Mehrauli, on the occasion of Shab-E-Barat (the 15th night of the eighth month of the Islamic calendar).

The court was considering a plea filed by the managing committee of the Delhi Waqf Board seeking to permit worshippers to enter the property on the occasion of Shab-E-Barat. (Representational image)
The court was considering a plea filed by the managing committee of the Delhi Waqf Board seeking to permit worshippers to enter the property on the occasion of Shab-E-Barat. (Representational image)

The court was of the view the site in question was now in possession of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and the relief that was being sought was like “a mandatory injunction”.

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“It is to be noted that the prayer in question as has been made in the application relates to the nature of mandatory injunction. Respondents in their status report have stated that the structure... has already been demolished and the order of status quo granted by this court is being maintained... Admittedly as of now, the site... is in the possession of the Delhi Development Authority and this court is seized with the main writ petition which is to be heard on March 7. At this stage, the court under the facts of the present case is not inclined to pass any direction. Accordingly, the application stands dismissed,” a bench of justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav said in the order.

The court was considering a plea filed by the managing committee of the Delhi Waqf Board seeking to permit worshippers to enter the property and pay obeisance to their departed elders, during the period extending from 30 minutes before sunset on February 25 and ending 30 minutes after sunrise on February 26.

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The Delhi high court on February 5 directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to maintain the status quo of the land. The court is set to hear on March 7 a petition by the managing committee of Delhi Waqf Board challenging DDA’s demolition.

On Friday, the managing committee appearing through advocate Shams Khwaja submitted that locals for generations have been celebrating Shab-E-Barat at the erstwhile mosque, claiming that the razed graveyard was active. He, however, argued that the visitation would not create any right in their favor and that DDA with the assistance of law enforcement agencies has taken “illegal and unlawful action in demolishing the 600-year-old masjid”.

The Delhi Waqf Board, appearing through advocate Yoginder Handoo, submitted that since the court had directed DDA to maintain the status quo, allowing locals to enter the site would create a problem. “Status quo has been granted and in the garb of this they will claim further rights,” Handoo submitted.

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DDA appearing through advocate Sanjay Katyal submitted that the land was situated in the Ridge area, adding that the civic agency had reclaimed approximately 5,000 square metres by also removing Shahi Masjid, a madrasa, a graveyard, a temple near gate no. 4, an ancient Shiva temple, a Kali mandir and 77 mazaars. He also submitted that though the committee preferred an application seeking the appointment of a local commissioner, the same was rejected by the court on February 21.

DDA on January 30 razed the masjid, the Behrul Uloom madrasa, and various graves, claiming they were “unauthoried constructions”.

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