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Places of Worship Act does not bar plea against 1968 ‘compromise’: judge

District and Sessions Judge Rajiv Bharti had, on May 19, allowed revision of a lower court ruling, which had earlier dismissed pleas by a group of “devotees”, seeking ownership of the Idgah land, and one calling for demolition of the Idgah.

Shahi Idgah Masjid in Mathura. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Underlining that the Places of Worship Act, 1991, does not bar a plea against the 1968 “compromise” agreement between the Shahi Idgah and the Srikrishna Janmabhumi temple, the district judge in Mathura has allowed a plea questioning ownership of the land on which the Idgah is built.

“With regard to the entire property of Katra Keshav Deo, whether Shri Krishna Janma Bhoomi Seva Sangh had the power to enter into compromise with Trust Masjid Eidgah is a matter of evidence, which can be determined only on the basis of evidence adduced by both parties during the trial,” the court has held.

District and Sessions Judge Rajiv Bharti had, on May 19, allowed revision of a lower court ruling, which had earlier dismissed pleas by a group of “devotees”, seeking ownership of the Idgah land, and one calling for demolition of the Idgah.

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A detailed copy of the order was made available on May 22.

Judge Bharti’s decision now allows civil suits to be heard by a lower court. The Katra Keshav Dev temple premises are believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

In 2020, Judge Chaya Sharma, Civil Judge (Senior Division), had dismissed the pleas, holding that the petitioners had no locus.

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Lucknow-based advocate Ranjana Agnihotri, along with six others, later filed a plea claiming to be suing on behalf of the deity, Sri Krishna Virajman, as the “next of kin” to the deity.

“…this court is of the view that a worshipper as the next friend of the deity can file suit for restoration and re-establishment of religious rights of the deity,” the district court held.

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First published on: 24-05-2022 at 02:14:01 am
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