The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Allahabad High Court and the Waqf mosque on its premises, which has been ordered to be removed, to explore the possibility of a “settlement”.
Hearing a petition filed by the Waqf Masjid challenging the November 8, 2017, order of the High Court which gave it three months to move out, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud ordered “list the matter on 16th March, 2018. In the meantime, learned counsel for the parties shall discuss among themselves to arrive at a settlement, if possible.”
Appearing for the Waqf, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said the structure had been there for many decades.
During the brief hearing, Justice Chandrachud said there were several tracts of land beside the High Court and some part of this could be considered for relocating the mosque. The CJI, too, seemed to favour a relocation.
Acting on a PIL, the HC had directed that the “Waqf, shall handover vacant and peaceful possession of the site in dispute to respondent no.1-High Court, within a period of three months…” from the date of the judgment.
In the order, the high court also made a note of the “acute crunch of space” it was facing. It said the high court requires to shift some offices/ sections to the annexe to make more chambers/court halls available for judges.