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SC lets Metro begin work near disputed Delhi mosque

Court lifts Oct 2012 restraining order on DMRC.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: September 9, 2014 12:58:39 am
The site of Akbarabadi Mosque, which was excavated for Metro work. (Source: Express archive) The site of Akbarabadi Mosque, which was excavated for Metro work. (Source: Express archive)

After a logjam of almost two years, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) can finally begin construction and logistic tunnelling to  connect the Jama Masjid Metro station with the Delhi Gate station.

The Supreme Court has lifted the October 2012 restraint order against the DMRC, which was asked to stop work on the 1,665 square metre stretch in view of a petition by Delhi MLA Shoaib Iqbal, who had challenged an order to demolish a disputed structure on the ruins of Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque near Red Fort.

A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra, on September 5, allowed the DMRC to go ahead with construction under the supervision and control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The DMRC had sought permission to utilise land measuring 433.47 sqm for placing of cranes and other-related equipment necessary to execute the project.

“Having given our thoughtful consideration to the prayers made by the applicant, we are satisfied that the prayers deserve to be granted. The prayers are accordingly allowed. The DMRC is permitted to place its equipment on the area of land expressed in the application. The DMRC Ltd shall execute its activities in respect of the project, under the supervision and control of the Archaeological Survey of India,” the order stated.

The ASI was asked to supervise the work after senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for the Delhi Police, urged the bench to rope in ASI in the wake of sensitivities involved in the matter and the consequent necessity of an expert body to examine if more ruins come up during the work.

“The Commissioner of Delhi Police shall ensure that the activities of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited are executed without any impediment,” the bench ordered, while fixing the matter for final disposal on September 9.

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