Removal of 150-yr-old mosque pending before religious committee: Delhi High Court told

It also extended the interim order directing the authorities to maintain the status quo and asked them to place before the court the report of the religious committee, once it is made available.

Published: 14th August 2023 08:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2023 08:15 PM   |  A+A-

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Delhi High Court was informed on Monday that the issue regarding the removal of a 150-year-old mosque at the Sunehri Bagh Road roundabout in the city is pending before the religious committee under the chairmanship of the Delhi government’s Secretary (Home).

Before Justice Prateek Jalan, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) submitted that a joint inspection was carried out to look into the demotion of the structure which is allegedly obstructing the safe and smooth flow of traffic.

The high court further directed the NDMC to place on record its counter affidavit filed in response to a petition by the Delhi Waqf Board anticipating the demolition of the mosque.

It also extended the interim order directing the authorities to maintain the status quo and asked them to place before the court the report of the religious committee, once it is made available.

The development was following the hearing of a plea filed against NDMC's move from causing any harm to the mosque. Now the matter will be further heard on October 6.

In reply, the NDMC said, it acted upon the letter of the Delhi traffic police in view of the increase in traffic, and the joint inspection was carried out twice. The officials concerned unanimously concluded that the religious structure is required to be removed/relocated, it said.

As per the civic body, it was observed that the land is required to be utilised for redesigning the roundabout and for safe and smooth flow of traffic.

“Further, there is no other adequate feasible option but to utilise the piece of the land after the removal of the religious structure in the larger public interest. The petition is liable to be declined and the petition may be dismissed,” the reply said.

The NDMC said the area falls in the high-security zone, being in close proximity to central government offices, Parliament, the central vista project and offices of high-ranked officers of defence forces.

Due to the movement of high officials, defence forces, and foreign dignitaries, the heavy traffic congestion on this roundabout, and also in the adjoining area, has become a matter of serious concern, it said.

Advocate Wajeeh Shafiq, representing petitioner Delhi Waqf Board, had earlier said the existence of the mosque was not the cause of traffic in the area, and the intimation of the inspection was received by the board at less than 24-hour notice.

 “The modus operandi is that a waqf property, even if it is century old, is marked as obstructing the right of way or the movement of traffic and soon thereafter, in a surreptitious manner, a decision is taken to remove it. The waqf property/ religious structure is then cordoned off and is razed either in wee hours or in the dead of night in the presence of heavy police force or paramilitary force,” the petition read.

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