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SC dismisses pleas against Allahabad HC order to evict mosque on its premises

During the hearing, the court told the appellants who contended that they have been there for many years, “It was a leased property. Can leased property be made Waqf?”.

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SC dismisses pleas against Allahabad HC order to evict mosque on its premises
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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed appeals challenging a 2017 Allahabad High Court order directing eviction of a “mosque” situated on its premises, wondering how the government land which was given on lease was converted into a Waqf.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and C T Ravikumar that heard the appellant mosque management, the High Court and the state of Uttar Pradesh “at length”, said that “having gone through the impugned order passed by the High Court and more particularly (given that) the disputed property in question is needed for a public purpose to be used by the High Court of Allahabad, and when the cogent reasons have been given and taking into consideration the earlier order passed by this court… dated July 17, 2012, by which the original lessees were granted three months to vacate the premises in question, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court. Hence both the Special Leave Petitions stand dismissed”.

The SC added that “it will be open to the management of the appellants to make a detailed representation to the state government for allotment of an alternative space in the nearby areas” and that if such a representation is made, it “may be considered by the state government in accordance with law and its own merits and if such lands pointed out are not required for any other public purpose either present or in future”.

During the hearing, the court told the appellants who contended that they have been there for many years, “you do not have any right, you cannot claim to continue in possession as a matter of right. It was a leased property. Can leased property be made Waqf? The lease was already terminated and resumed. It was confirmed in 2021 by this court”.

Appearing for the appellants, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal submitted that the the HC originally had only permission to construct six floors, but nine floors were raised following which 11 metres land had to be kept free around it for passage of fire tenders and this was the reason the “mosque” was sought to be shifted.

He said the “mosque” is willing to move provided an alternative land is allotted, but the state is not willing to do that. “In the given facts of the case, they should give us an alternative site where we can go and pray…. We are standing only for the community, nothing more than that,” Sibal submitted.

The bench pointed out that the said land belongs to the government, and was given on lease to a private person who then allowed it to be used as a place for offering namaz. Now, the lease has been terminated and possession given to the HC.


Sibal said “we are not disputing those facts. But if there is something which has been used as a public mosque since 1981-82, the administration can give us land outside”.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaisingh also appearing for the petitioners said though it was a privately used mosque to begin with, it was later dedicated to the public and then it was registered under the Waqf Board Act and used to be regulated by the Waqf Board and as such it is a public mosque not a private one.

Appearing for the High Court, Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi called it “a case of complete fraud”.


He said the purported mosque was set up much later after the SC order in 2012 by which possession of the land was given back to the HC.

Recalling the timeline of the events, he said that when the lease was renewed in the late 90s, there was condition that “the lessee shall not erect any building on the demised premises without the written consent of the Collector and that if at any point of time, the state needs the land for any public purpose, it shall have the right to renew the land and pay compensation to the lessee”.

Accordingly, the land was renewed and Rs 10 lakh compensation was also paid, he pointed out.

He pointed out that in proceedings before the HC before 2003 or even before the SC till 2012, the petitioners never raised a claim that there was any mosque on the premises.

The waqf was registered on May 30, 2002, applied and granted the same day without any inquiry despite the fact that the Chief Executive Officer is a Deputy Secretary of the government. “They collaborated with the petitioners,” he contended.


Dwivedi also said it was an attempt to give the issue a religious colour.

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Stating that there was no mosque on the land, he said it was only allowed to be used for offering namaz for the convenience of lawyers. “Mere fact that you are offering namaz does not make it a mosque. Very often we find that on Friday people offer namaz on roads, parks, etc., that does not make it a mosque,” Dwivedi argued.

First published on: 13-03-2023 at 14:48 IST
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