LUCKNOW: Barely a few days ahead of a CBI court in Lucknow pronouncing its verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case, a civil suit has been filed in a Mathura court on Friday seeking ownership of the entire 13.37 acres of Krishna Janmabhoomi land in the temple town and removal of the Shahi Idgah Masjid.
The suit was filed by the ‘Bhagwan Srikrishna Virajman at Katra Keshav Dev Khewat, Mauja Mathura Bazaar City’ through the 'next friend' Ranjana Agnihotri and six other devotees. Agnihotri, a Lucknow-based lawyer, had represented the Hindu Mahasabha in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit in various courts including the Supreme Court.
Despite the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, being in place, the civil suit was filed in the Mathura court. The Act bars courts from entertaining litigation that would alter the status quo of a religious place as it existed in 1947. However, the Act had exempted the litigation over the ownership of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land.
It may be noted that when the Supreme Court, in November 2019, had pronounced its verdict for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, one of the parties was Sri Ram Lalla Virajman, who had filed a civil suit in Ayodhya in 1989 through his 'next friend' Triloki Nath Pandey.
The fresh suit filed by Srikrishna Virajman through Agnihotri said, "UP Sunni Waqf Board, Trust Masjid Idgah or any member of Muslim community have no interest or right in the property of Katra Keshav Dev over an area measuring 13.37 acres and entire land vests in the deity Bhagwan Srikrishna Virajman.”
"This suit is being filed for removal of encroachment and superstructure illegally raised by committee of management of alleged Trust Masjid Idgah with the consent of Sunni Central Board of Waqf on land Khewat No.255 at Katra Keshav Dev, city Mathura belonging to deity Srikrishna Virajman," said one of the lawyers.
The site in Mathura is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Along with Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya and Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, it's one of the three sites which Hindu outfits including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) want to be restored to Hindus.
The main litigant, advocate Ranjana Agnihotri, told The New Indian Express that her petition had already been admitted by the Mathura court and that she expected to get the copy on Monday.
Over the provisions of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which may be a stumbling block in the adjudication of the suit, Agnihotri said she was confident that the said Act would not be a problem in the adjudication of the suit filed by her. “I have drafted the suit after studying the provisions of the 1991 Act and it will not hamper my case. As it is, my petition has already been
admitted by the court,” she added.
After settling the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, the Supreme Court of India had closed the possibility for fresh litigation to alter the status quo of sites such as those in Kashi and Mathura.
Moreover, after the apex court verdict in the Ayodhya title suit, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and VHP had declared that they would not stake claim to the Mathura and Kashi shrines.