Updated: August 24, 2021 8:01:43 am
THE DELHI High Court Monday questioned Delhi Police over keeping Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi’s family out of their home for more than a year, and directed it to hand over the keys of Markaz Nizamuddin’s residential portion to his mother within two days so she can reside there. The court directed her not to enter any other portion of the Markaz until further orders.
Nizamuddin Markaz, which includes a mosque, a madrasa and the residential area, has largely remained locked since a case was registered in connection with a Tablighi Jamaat congregation there last year. Kandhalvi’s mother, Khalida, had earlier approached the lower court against the sealing of the residential portion. While a magisterial court in September 2020 allowed her plea, the order was stayed and later set aside by a sessions court in December 2020 after the police challenged the grant of relief.
“Kya? Kaunsa Section laga rakha hai aapne? You are basically saying Section 60 (Indian Evidence Act) and Section 310 (CrPC)… Section 60 is something else. Preserving a site does not mean that you have to just lock it. You take photographs, everything and then move yourself from the site. What is this?” Justice Yogesh Khanna told the police on Monday while hearing 72-year-old Khalida’s petition against the sessions court order.
While Section 60 pertains to direct oral evidence, Section 310 provides for inspection by a judge or magistrate of a place where an offence is alleged to have been committed. Section 310 confers no power upon the police to lock the residence and Section 60 is not applicable in the facts of the present case, senior advocate Rebecca Mammen John, representing Khalida, argued on Monday.
Justice Khanna said that the case against Markaz Nizamuddin was only that people were residing there. “What was recovered from this? It is only the case that people were residing inside that Markaz…,” observed the court.
“We can’t allow the people who were residing there to stay in a guesthouse or any other area than their own houses,” said the court.
Khalida, in the petition filed through advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi, said that several months have passed but she and her family have not been made aware about the reason or under what authority they were being prevented from entering or accessing their own residence. The family has been compelled to reside at the place of friends and relatives, the plea said.
“The court below failed to appreciate the fact that the residential house of the petitioner is not case property and is not needed for purposes of any local inspection to be carried out by the court. The offence if any was committed in the markaz premises which is separate from the four storied residential premises of which the petitioner seeks de-sealing,” Khalida’s counsel argued in the petition.
Noting that the State failed to produce any order before the magisterial court under which the residential premises were locked, Justice Khanna said that admittedly, there was no order of sealing or seizure of the premises which has been lying locked since April 1 last year. “Issue notice to the State. Let the State file a reply stating inter alia any order etc if issued,” said the court, while listing the case for next hearing on December 9.
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