We have reclaimed land from mosque, DDA tells court

Friday, January 14, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Friday told the Delhi High Court that it had complied with its orders on demolition of a mosque built illegally on government land in Jangpura in south Delhi and had reclaimed 350 sq metre of its land.

Facing a contempt threat from the high court, the DDA, after several failed attempts, succeeded in demolishing the mosque built 35 years ago. The DDA also told the court that it had begun fencing the land and constructing a boundary wall and had put up a sign board saying that the land belongs to it.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Wakf Board (DWB) also filed a writ petition against the demolition and asked for re-modification of the earlier high court order, passed July 9, 2008, that had said the land belonged to DDA.

The petition was filed before Chief Justic Deepak Mishra and Justic Sanjiv Khanna.

The writ petition was later withdrawn by DWB after the court said that the board may be slapped with heavy cost because they had approached it under section 19 (c) of the Wakf Act.

The bench said the board was not correct as a statutory body to file the petition under section 19(c) of the Wakf Act and directed the board to file the petition under 226 of the constitution.

A DWB official told IANS that the board will file a fresh petition before the court again next week.

The DDA report states, “A demolition programme was fixed on Jan 12 in consultation with the Delhi Police department and the illegal structure (the mosque called Noor Masjid) boundary wall, the newly constructed tin shade were removed and about 350 square metre DDA land was reclaimed.”

“Fencing of the land and the construction of the boundary wall by the engineering department is in progress and a board is fixed on the site displaying DDA land,” the DDA compliance report states.

Peeved over the encroachment affecting their colony’s development, the Jangpura Residents Welfare Association (RWA) in 2006 approached the court protesting the failure of municipal authorities to remove illegal structures. The petitioners had argued that they could not build a community centre and a park in their locality due to the encroachment.

But, the court, on an assurance by the authorities, disposed of the petition in 2008. “The matter was then referred to Delhi government’s religious committee which gave its approval for demolishing the structure in October 2009, and the case was then forwarded to Delhi Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna, who gave his nod soon after,” said Saini, the lawyer for the RWA.

In 2010, DDA tried demolishing the mosque six times, but was unable to do so due to lack of adequate police protection.

Frustrated with the lack of action, the RWA again moved the court in October 2010. The high court then issued a contempt notice against Khanna, DDA vice-chairman and the commissioner (Land and Management) and asked them to submit a compliance report within four weeks.

On Oct 28, 2010 Justice Sistani pulled up DDA for not implementing the order earlier given by the Delhi High Court on July 9, 2008.

DDA sought dismissal of the contempt petition but the petition was not dismissed. The court will hear the matter in March 1, 2011.

This is not the only piece of DDA land acquired illegally. There are at least 350 religious encroachments on DDA land at present, said officials. As per an internal DDA survey carried out in 2010, a total of 39.38 acres of land has been encroached upon by religious structures, mostly in east Delhi.

Filed under: Religion

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