Court allows prayers at demolished mosque site

Monday, January 17, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Delhi High Court Monday ordered the capital’s land and housing developing authority to allow ten devotees to offer prayers for the next two months at the site of a mosque demolished in south Delhi last week.

Justice G.S. Sistani asked Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to build a boundary wall with an entrance of two and half feet width to enable ten people to offer prayers five times a day till a period of two months. The names of the devotees will be furnished to DDA and the concerned Station House Officer (SHO).

The court also directed that the devotees must vacate the space soon after finishing their prayers.

“In this period, DDA or the petitioner will not press for further application. There is to be no obstruction in the boundary wall construction, neither by any local politicians or local people over there,” said the court.

Justice Sistani further directed all the advocates appearing in this case, claiming that it is their land: “That area does not belong to any board of trust… it’s a DDA land, therefore once the order is passed the court will not entertain any violation of the law, as law is law.”

“No one should raise communal issues or do communal division. This order was passed in public interest at large. Therefore, no political interference is also allowed,” added the court.

The court has directed the Noor Charitable Society not to make any modification near the boundary wall. A time of two months has been given to work out a solution of the situation and look for records to establish facts on the land, whichever side lays claim to it.

However, the court posted the matter for March 21, for decision on the DDA’s plea to drop contempt proceedings against it for the delay in carrying out its orders on demolition of the mosque built on public land. The court will also take on record the present status at that time.

The court was hearing the application filed by residents of a south Delhi neighbourhood seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari for allegedly instigating people to offer prayers at the site of a razed illegal mosque.

Prayers were offered on government land reclaimed by the DDA after razing the illegal mosque, said the application filed by the resident welfare association (RWA) of Jangpura through counsel R.K. Saini.

The RWA also sought initiation of contempt proceedings against Shoaib Iqbal, legislator from Matia Mahal constituency, Asif Mohammad Khan, legislator from Okhla constituency and T.S. Marwah, a legislator from Jangpura constituency.

The association wanted the court to suo moto initiate criminal contempt proceedings against them “for deliberately and wilfully violating the orders of the court”.

The RWA also accused the chief minister and others of allegedly “scandalising and lowering the authority of the court, interfering with the due course of judicial process, interfering and obstructing the administration of justice and bringing in disrepute to the honour, majesty and authority of the law and the courts.”

The court had in 2006 issued contempt notice to the DDA on a petition of Jangpura RWA alleging that its direction to demolish the illegal structure had not been complied with.

Facing a contempt threat from the high court, the DDA, after several failed attempts, succeeded last week 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.

Filed under: Religion

will not be displayed