11 April 2023 6:26 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday listed an application seeking directions for allowing prayers at a mosque situated inside the Qutub Minar complex during the month of Ramzan for hearing on April 27. The month of Ramzan this year ends on April 22 or April 23.Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri issued notice on the application moved by Managing Committee of Delhi Waqf Board seeking early disposal of a...
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday listed an application seeking directions for allowing prayers at a mosque situated inside the Qutub Minar complex during the month of Ramzan for hearing on April 27. The month of Ramzan this year ends on April 22 or April 23.
Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri issued notice on the application moved by Managing Committee of Delhi Waqf Board seeking early disposal of a pending petition against alleged stopping of prayers in the mosque. One of the prayers in the application also was to allow prayers at the mosque during the ongoing month of Ramazan.
The mosque in question, referred to as the 'Mughal Mosque', is situated within the Qutub Complex. However, it is outside the Qutub enclosure and is not the famous 'Masjid Quwwatul Islam' where prayers are allowed. The restrictions on prayers at Mughal Mosque were imposed in May last year and continued since then.
The court sought response of the Union of India and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) while listing the application for hearing next on April 27. The main petition is listed for hearing on August 21.
The application has been moved after a recent order of the Supreme Court requesting the High Court to decide the matter expeditiously.
Advocate M. Sufian Siddiqui appeared for the petitioner whereas advocate Kirtiman Singh represented the Union of India.
As the court initially fixed the matter for hearing in early May, Siddiqui said that the prayer for allowing namaz during the month of Ramazan would be infructuous. The court then listed the matter on April 27.
When Siddiqui again submitted that the matter would even then become infructuous, the court did not change the date.
Stating that the right to speedy justice is a concomitant of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the application seeking early hearing of the matter reads:
“Considerably, the captioned matter is ripe for final hearing as the pleadings are complete, however, the next date of hearing is 21.08.2023, which is almost five months later. Considerably, with each passing day, on one hand the petitioner’s Fundamental Rights are getting transgressed on daily basis, that too five times a day and on the other hand the Constitution’s assurance of being treated alike and primacy of ‘Rule of Law’ is getting eroded.”
Earlier, the Union of India had informed court that the mosque is a protected monument and that Saket court is seized of a matter concerning the same mosque.
On the other hand, it is the case of the petitioner that even if the Mosque is a protected monument, section 16 of the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 read with the relevant Rules provide that it is the bounden duty of the authorities to maintain the religious nature, sanctity attached to the mosque and to protect the right of worshippers to assemble and offer prayers.
"…the denial of opportunity to Muslims to offer Namaz in the instant mosque is a manifestation of muscular approach which is antithetical to liberal values enshrined in the Constitution and liberalism reflected in every aspect of life of common people," the plea states.
It adds: “Ex-consequenti, the authorities cannot maintain inexplicable and unconscionable silence for the simple reason that a citizen has a right to seek redressal of his grievance in a timely manner, and by such inaction, his rights as contemplated under Article 21 of the Constitution of India get curtailed, smothered and crippled."
Case Title: MANAGING COMMITTEE OF DELHI WAQF BOARD v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS.