Raze illegal construction at Old Delhi site: HC

The Delhi High Court on Monday permitted the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to demolish an “illegal construction” at a controversial site near Subhash Park where the local MLA claims to have found the remains of the Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque.

Written by Jayant Sriram | New Delhi | Published: July 31, 2012 1:04:25 am

The Delhi High Court on Monday permitted the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to demolish an “illegal construction” at a controversial site near Subhash Park where the local MLA claims to have found the remains of the Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque.

The court directed the ASI to take possession of the site and begin “in right earnest” its technical investigation into whether such a structure ever existed,and submit its status report to the court by October 11.

The bench said no congregation would be allowed at the site,declining a plea by MLA Shoaib Iqbal to let people offer namaz at the site and a counter plea by the Akhil Bharti Hindu Mahasabha,which sought permission for puja claiming that the remains were those of a temple.

In an interim order on Monday,a full bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri asked the ASI to implement its July 19 notice,in which it had asked the North corporation to remove the unauthorised construction within 15 days as it fell in the regulated area of protected monuments Red Fort and Sunehri Masjid.

“The stand of the ASI is unequivocally reflected in its notice dated July 19,2012,with which MCD (now NDMC) is in agreement. The two authorities with the assistance of police should implement the statutory mandate without fail,” the bench said.

The bench had earlier stayed construction at the site,taking cognisance of the allegation that a structure was being built illegally at the site at the instance of MLA Shoaib Iqbal. The court,in its order on Monday,took a stern view of the MLA’s actions,saying that the endeavour was misplaced.

“We have no hesitation in saying that the endeavour to construct anything at site was misplaced as it was without any sanction/permission… At least,an elected member of the Assembly… a part of the State,should not have resorted to illegal construction,” the bench said.

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