The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked its Registry officials to bring out the original land allotment deeds to look into the status of the “disputed mosque” inside the court premises. The direction was issued after a PIL was filed seeking demolition of the structure on grounds that a public office cannot be used for a religious purpose.
The PIL, filed by Hindu Mahasabha member Ajay Gautam, alleges that the structure, situated inside the court premises near the main entry gates, is not an “ancient” or “protected” structure. The PIL also refers to RTI replies given by the Archaeological Survey of India, which denied the existence of any protected or ancient structure on the High Court premises.
“It is important to mention here that from the reply of the ASI it has become crystal clear that the structure situated near gate no. 5 of the Delhi High Court is not ancient in nature and it has been created somewhere in the near past by the members of the Muslim community without any due sanction and approval,” the plea stated.
Gautam has also alleged that the “mosque” constituted a security threat as it would lead to entry of non-lawyers and non-litigants into the court premises to offer prayers.
The court of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Pratibha Rani on Wednesday asked the officials of the maintenance department of the High Court Registry to bring on record the original land deeds by which the High Court was granted land, so that it could take a look at the status of the structure in the deed.
The “mosque” has been the subject of controversy since 2013 when the VHP had staged a dharna against a proposal to repair the damaged wall of the structure. At the time, the issue was whether the structure was in fact a mosque or a “mazaar”. The High Court had at the time granted permission for repairs to the damaged wall of the structure, since a number of lawyers and litigants had been offering prayers there.
The court had at the time refused to take a decision on the status of the structure.
Following the repair work, Muslim lawyers and litigants regularly offer prayers at the structure every day.