NEW DELHI: The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that a mosque which exists within its premises is a 400-year-old structure and a property of the Delhi Wakf Board.
The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and the Land and Development Office (L&DO) informed a bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani that as per a notification issued on December 10, 1969, under the Wakf Act, the mosque was 400 years old and a property of Delhi Wakf Board.
It also told the court that when land was allocated near Sher Shah Road for building the high court, a 0.12 acre area on which the mosque was situated was excluded.
The government, represented by central government standing counsel Anil Soni and advocate Benipal Nagender, made the submissions on a plea seeking demolition of the mosque inside the high court premises on the ground that the court's precincts can not be used by any community to profess and practice their religion without its formal approval.
The petitioner, however, withdrew his plea today after the bench told him that the land on which the mosque is situated does not belong to the high court and it cannot pass any order regulating it.
"How can we direct its demolition? It is a Wakf property," the court said to the petitioner, Ajay Gautam, who withdrew his plea.
The court granted him liberty to file a fresh plea if he was aggrieved with the existence of the mosque, near Gate 5 of the high court, as he had contended that the structure was a security threat and as per the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) it was not even a protected monument.
The government had placed the notification and land allocation records before the bench as it had sought these documents to ascertain since when the mosque has been in existence in the court premises.