Delhi HC issues notice on DDA plea seeking to vacate stay on action against over 100-year-old mosque, graveyard in Dhaula Kuan

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the managing committee of the Shahi Masjid and Qabristan Kangal Shah situated in Dhaula Kuan in the national capital on a plea of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) seeking vacation of stay on taking any coercive action against the mosque, graveyard and a school.

Mosque is over 100-year-old: Managing committee of Shahi Masjid,

The managing committee of the Shahi Masjid, which has claimed that mosque is over 100-year-old, and Qabristan Kangal Shah had earlier moved the High Court apprehending demolition and the High Court had on November 2 last year directed the authorities to not take any action, as of now, against the mosque, graveyard and the school.

Managing committee of Shahi Masjid got status quo order on factually incorrect averments: DDA

The DDA submitted before Justice Sachin Datta that the said area forms part of Central Ridge and is a protected area and the religious committee of the Delhi Government has approved removal of encroachment there. It further submitted that the petitioner has made false and factually incorrect averments in its writ petition before the High Court on which the status quo order was granted.

What did the High Court say?

During the hearing of the matter, Justice Datta sought to know from the counsel of the DDA as to whether the encroachment includes the mosque and on what basis the authorities were contemplating removal of the mosque.

While making it clear on the point of encroachment that the sanctity of the ridge has to be maintained and no one can be allowed to encroach upon the forest area, the High Court asked the DDA counsel if the mosque is in existence for so long, under what law it wants to remove it.

Also read: ‘Whether any prior notice was given before demolishing 600-year-old mosque’, Delhi High Court asks DDA

“On what basis do you want to take the action? You make a clear and cogent case. Give me the exact dimensions. What is that you want to remove and why,” the High Court asked the DDA counsel and asked the DDA to explain all the questions on the next hearing on February 29, news agency PTI reported.

The High Court has directed the managing committee of the Shahi Masjid and Qabristan Kangal Shah to file its response within 10 days on DDA’s application seeking vacation of stay granted on November 2, 2023.

What did the managing committee of the Shahi Masjid submit?

The managing committee of the Shahi Masjid has said that there was no encroachment in the area where the mosque is situated and the property was beyond the remit of the religious committee of the Delhi Government as it was on private land. It has claimed that the authorities have incorrectly labelled the mosque, dargah, graveyard and madarsa as unauthorised, despite these being recognised as private land and these properties were not touched in previous demolitions of unauthorised structures in the area. It has also alleged that authorities did not provide them any opportunity for a fair hearing.

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