9 Dec 2021 9:45 AM GMT
A Delhi Court has rejected a civil suit filed on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev and Hindu deity Lord Vishnu alleging that the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid situated within the Qutub Minar Complex in Mehrauli was built in place of a temple complex and seeking restoration of the temple complex comprising as many as 27 temples.The Court noted that the suit was barred by the provisions...
A Delhi Court has rejected a civil suit filed on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev and Hindu deity Lord Vishnu alleging that the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid situated within the Qutub Minar Complex in Mehrauli was built in place of a temple complex and seeking restoration of the temple complex comprising as many as 27 temples.
The Court noted that the suit was barred by the provisions of the Places of Worship Act 1991 and rejected the plaint under Order 7 Rule 11(a) of Civil Procedure Code for nondisclosure of cause of action.
The plaint alleged that around 27 Hindu and Jain temples were desecrated and damaged in 1198 under the rule of Mughal Emperor Qutub-Din-Aibak raising the construction of the said Mosque in place of those temples.
While rejecting the plaint, the Court observed that the wrongs of the past cannot be a basis for disturbing the present peace.
"India had a culturally rich history. It has been ruled over by numerous dynasties. During arguments, the Ld. Counsel for plaintiff has vehemently argued on the point of national shame. However, nobody has denied that wrongs were committed in the past but such wrongs cannot be the basis for disturbing peace of our present and future," Civil Judge Neha Sharma observed.
The plaint alleged that Qutubdin Aibak a commander of Mohammed Gauri dismantled the Vishnu Hari Temple and 27 Jain and Hindu temples along with respective deities and raised some inner constructions within the temple complex. The temple complex was renamed as 'QuwwatUl Islam Mosque'.
While dealing with the suit, the Court said that once a monument has been declared as protected by the Government, the plaintiffs cannot insist that it must be used for other purposes.
" Hence, such ancient and historical monument cannot be used for some purpose which runs counter to its nature as a religious place of worship, but it can always be used for some other purpose which is not inconsistent with its religious character. Hence, in my considered opinion, once a monument has been declared to be a protected monument and is owned by the Government, then the plaintiffs cannot insist that the place of worship must actually and actively be used for religious services," the Court observed.
The Court added that every endeavour should be made to enforce the objective of the Places of Worship Act, 1991 and that it's purpose was to maintain the secular character of the nation.
"Our country had a rich history and has seen challenging times. Nevertheless, history has to be accepted as a whole. Can the good be retained and bad be deleted from our history? Thus, harmonious interpretation of both the statutes is required to give full force to the objective behind the Places of Worship Act, 1991," the Court added.
"valid. Hence, as per the provisions of the act, the ownership lies with the Government and the plaintiffs have no right to claim restoration and right to religious worship in the same without challenging the notification itself," it said.
The Court further said :
"It is an admitted fact that the suit property is a mosque built over temples and is not being used for any religious purpose, no prayers/namaz is being offered in the suit property. Hence, in my considered opinion, plaintiffs do not have an absolute right to restoration and worship in the suit property as public order which is an exception to Article 25 and 26 requires that status quo be maintained and protected monument be used for no religious purpose".
The plaintiffs relied on Section 16 of the Archaeological Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act which permits to continue worship of the religion which maybe in consonance with the character of the building. However, the Court held that this provision has to be read in consonance with the Places of Worship Act, 1991.
"The contention of the plaintiffs that section 4(3)(a) of the Places of Worship Act, 1991 excludes an ancient and historical monument or an archaeological site or remains covered by the AMASR Act and hence, the present suit is not barred under the Places of Worship Act, 1991 would, in my opinion, frustrate the purpose of the act itself", the Court noted.
The Court also referred to the passages from the Supreme Court's Ayodhya Verdict which upheld the validity of the Places of Worship Act.
Title: TIRTHANKARA LORD RISHAB DEV & Ors. v. UNION OF INDIA & Ors.
Click Here To Read Order