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Gareeb Nawaz Mosque Demolition: Contempt Plea Moved In Allahabad High Court Against Local Authorities

Sparsh Upadhyay
4 Jun 2021 12:48 PM GMT
Gareeb Nawaz Mosque Demolition: Contempt Plea Moved In Allahabad High Court Against Local Authorities
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A contempt petition has been moved before the Allahabad High Court against the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Ram Sanehi Ghat, Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh along with other local authorities in connection with the recent demolition of Gareeb Nawaz Mosque (Barabanki). The petition has been moved by Sayyad Farooq Ahmad, through Advocate Mohd. Kumail Haider. It may be noted that the...

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A contempt petition has been moved before the Allahabad High Court against the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Ram Sanehi Ghat, Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh along with other local authorities in connection with the recent demolition of Gareeb Nawaz Mosque (Barabanki).

The petition has been moved by Sayyad Farooq Ahmad, through Advocate Mohd. Kumail Haider.

It may be noted that the Masjid was demolished earlier this month by the district administration in Barabanki, claiming it to be an "illegal structure" and thus, the petitioners have also prayed for a judicial inquiry to be initiated in the matter.

The contempt plea avers that the local authorities, by razing the Masjid, failed to comply with the High Court's order staying all demolitions across Uttar Pradesh till May 31 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plea states:

"Such authorization of the demolition of the mosque by the Respondents appears to be not well- thought, hasty and legally misinterpreted, severing through the concept of natural justice and hurting magnanimously the fundamental rights of the Muslims."

Further, the plea prays:

  • Initiate contempt proceedings against the SDM Ram Sanehi Ghat; Circle Officer, Office Ram Sanehi Ghat; and Inspector, Thana Ram Sanehi Ghat for their wilful disobedience and failure to comply with this High Court order
  • Summon the Respondents (No. 1, 2, and 3) to direct them to explain their position with respect to the non-compliance with the directions (4) and (5) given by High Court's order, dated April 24, 2021.
  • Setup a judicial inquiry regarding this particular matter
  • Recognize the area as the mosque area, allowing Muslim community to worship therein and the structure be restored at the expenses of the responsible authorities, unless and until the legal correctness of evidentiary documents of the mosque is proven otherwise.
  • Law enforcement agencies be directed to quash and not to register further frivolous complaints against individuals who are local and had bonded with the mosque within its vicinity with daily prayers for so many years.

In related news, the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench) last week stayed the arrest of Gareeb Nawaz Masjid's Committee members against whom an FIR has been filed accusing them of forging Mosque's documents.

The Bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava directed that until a police report under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. is filed, the petitioners shall not be subjected to any coercive measures.

The matter before the Court

By means of a petition, the petitioners assailed the F.I.R. under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 I.P.C. submitting that the F.I.R. was lodged against the petitioners does not specifically mention of any public document, which has either been forged or manipulated by the petitioners in any manner.

The FIR was registered against the President of the Committee, Mushtaq Ali, Vice-President Waqeel Ahmad, Secretary Mohamad Aneesh, and Dastageer, Afzaal Mohammad Naseem, along with Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board Inspector Mohammad Taha, and thus, they moved the High Court for relief.

It may be noted that the High Court has already issued an order (still in force) specifically halting the demolition activities during the pandemic period, yet the demolition of the Mosque took place which has been widely covered in the media report.

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