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Court reserves order on lawsuit seeking idol worship in Delhi’s mosque

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New Delhi: The Saket court in Delhi on Tuesday reserved the order on an Intervention Application (IA) moved by Kunwar Mahender Dhwaj Pratap Singh, who claimed ownership rights over Qutub Minar land, while hearing an appeal that sought worship rights for Hindus and Jains inside the Qutub Minar complex.

In the matter, through IA Dhwaj Pratap Singh had claimed to be an heir of the United Provinces of Agra and said the property of Qutub Minar belongs to him therefore the minaret along with the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque should be given to him.

On Tuesday, the intervenor submitted that the government after 1947 encroached on his property and he has Privy Council records.

Claiming property rights after 102 years

Appearing for the Hindu side, advocate Amita Sachdeva submitted that the intervenor is claiming property rights after 102 years. He is not interested in any kind of relief from the court. This petition is nothing more than a publicity stunt and should be dismissed with heavy costs.

ASI in its fresh affidavit already submitted that the applicant claims his right over the mentioned cities in and around Delhi has not been raised since independence i.e. 1947 before any Court of Law as surmised from the submissions by the applicant.

Moreover, the applicant’s claim of ownership and right of prevention of interference in his property has lapsed by the principle of the case for delay and laches, since the time period to file a recovery/possession/injunction against the same, be it of 3 years or 12 years has already expired by many decades, stated ASI.

Property declared as protected monument in 1913

During the time of declaring the property in question as a Protected Monument in 1913, the complete procedure was followed and no one came before the authorities to object, and hence counting the period from 1913 to 2022, the period of limitation has already lapsed many times over, stated ASI in the affidavit.

Additional District Judge Dinesh Kumar on Tuesday kept the order reserved on the IA moved by Kunwar Dhwaj and fixed the date September 17, 2022, for pronouncement of order in this regard.

Earlier the Court had clearly said that it will hear/decide the fresh IA first before proceeding with further arguments in the appeal. Court noted that an application was moved by Kunwar Mahender Dhwaj Pratap Singh claiming to be an heir of the United Provinces of Agra and said the property of Qutub Minar belongs to him therefore the minaret along with Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque should be given to him.

Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was allegedly  built after destroying 27 temples

The main appellant in the matter had claimed that the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, which is situated Qutub Minar complex, was built after destroying 27 temples.

Appeal suit alleging that the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid situated within the Qutub Minar complex in Mehrauli was built in place of a temple complex.

Advocate Vishnu Jain appearing for the petitioner (Appellant) apprised the court that Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid situated within the Qutub Minar complex in Mehrauli was built in place of a temple complex. Jain reads Section 16 of the AMASR Act 1958, “A protected monument maintained by the Central Government under this Act which is a place of worship or shrine shall not be used for any purpose inconsistent with its character.”

ASI opposed the appeal

Earlier Archaeological Survey of India opposed the appeal and said Qutub Minar is a monument, no one can claim a fundamental right over such a structure. As per the Ancient Monuments Act, the Qutub Minar Complex is a monument and no right to worship can be granted at this place.

There is no provision under AMASR Act 1958 under which worship can be started at any living monument. High court of Delhi has clearly mentioned in its order dated 27/01/1999, stated ASI.

The suit was filed on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev and Hindu deity Lord Vishnu (through their next of friends), seeking restoration of the alleged temple complex, comprising as many as 27 temples.

Here is what thesuit said

“The suit was filed to preserve and protect the religious and cultural heritage of India and to exercise the right to religion guaranteed by Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India by restoring 27 Hindu and Jain temples with respective deities which were dismantled, desecrated and damaged under the command and orders of Qutub-Din-Aibak, a commander of invader Mohammad Ghori, who established slave dynasty and raised some construction at the same very place of temples naming it as, Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque,” the suit said.

The plea claimed that according to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) 27 Hindu and Jain temples were demolished and Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque was raised inside the complex reusing the materials and seeking to “restore” the demolished temples.

Idols of these Gods should be restored

The suit sought to declare that Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, Lord Sun, Goddess Gauri, Lord Hanuman, Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishab Dev have the right to be “restored” within the temple complex at the site of Quwwatul Mosque Complex, Mehrauli, south-west Delhi “after rebuilding it with the same honour and dignity”.

It also sought to issue an injunction directing the Central government to create a trust, according to the Trust Act 1882, and hand over the management and administration of the temple complex situated within the area of Qutub Complex in Mehrauli after framing a scheme of the administration to such trust.

“Pass a decree in the nature of a permanent injunction, restraining the defendants permanently from interfering in making necessary repair works, raising construction and making arrangement for the pooja, darshan and worship of deities in accordance with Sections 16 and 19 of ‘The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958’ by a trust, to be created by the Central government within the area,” the suit said.

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