NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on March 13 dismissed appeals against a 2017 Allahabad High Court order on the removal of a mosque located on its premises.
A Bench comprising Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar dismissed special leave petitions filed by Waqf Masjid High Court and the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and gave the petitioners three months to remove the mosque from the Allahabad HC premises, according to a media report.
While allowing the petitioners to make representation to the Uttar Pradesh Government for alternative land, the apex court added that if petitioners fail to follow the three-month deadline, authorities can remove or demolish the mosque.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the management committee of the mosque, said the mosque has been there since the 1950s and it cannot be just asked to move out. “The Government changed in 2017 and everything changed. A PIL is filed 10 days after the new government was formed.
We have no problems with shifting to an alternative place as long as they give it to us,” he said. Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the High Court, said that this was a case of complete fraud.
“Twice there were renewal applications and there was no whisper at all that the mosque was constructed and it was used for the public. They sought renewal saying it was needed for residential purposes. The mere fact that they are offering namaz will not make it a mosque. If in the Supreme Court verandah or HC verandah, if namaz is allowed for convenience, it will not become a mosque,” he said.
While passing the order, the Bench noted that the mosque was situated in a Government-lease land and the grant was cancelled back in 2002.