19 Jan 2021 2:53 PM GMT
"Every citizen has an equal and inalienable right as any other citizen for living peacefully, without fear of antisocial elements and for enjoying religious freedom", observed the Allahabad High Court last week while issuing some directions in a plea seeking necessary action against illegal encroachment/damage made to a Kabristan (Muslim graveyard) situated in District Kaushambi of...
"Every citizen has an equal and inalienable right as any other citizen for living peacefully, without fear of antisocial elements and for enjoying religious freedom", observed the Allahabad High Court last week while issuing some directions in a plea seeking necessary action against illegal encroachment/damage made to a Kabristan (Muslim graveyard) situated in District Kaushambi of Uttar Pradesh.
The Bench of Justice Jayant Banerji and Justice Sanjay Yadav further observed
"Wherever, the High Court has reason to believe that fundamental and Constitutional rights of citizens are threatened, Article 226 of the Constitution of India vests sufficient powers to intervene and issue necessary directions."
The matter before the Court
The petitioners filed the instant public interest litigation seeking directions to the State of Uttar Pradesh, Ministry of Revenue Affairs, District Magistrate, Kaushambi & Sub Divisional Magistrate, Chayal, Kaushambi, to take necessary action against illegal encroachment/ damage made by the respondent nos. 4 to 8 and associated persons on a particular Kabristan [situated at plot no. 193 area 0.3880 hectares situated at Village Boonda, Pargana & Tehsil Chayal, District Kaushambi].
A further prayer was made seeking a mandamus directing the respondents not to interfere in the peaceful construction of the boundary wall of the Kabristan.
It was stated in the plea that the private respondents have opened the doors of their houses on the Kabristan side and are using middle of the Kabristan as a road and now they are raising a constructed road in the middle of the area.
During the enquiry, the petitioners and other signatories to the statement stated that on the land of the Kabristan, the road which was being customarily used was being reinforced with cement concrete from the funds of the District Panchayat which road is being used by the petitioners for taking 'Tazias', etc. and for daily passage.
Additionally, it was admitted that road is being customarily used by the villagers on a daily basis regarding which the petitioners have no objection.
Importantly, the petitioners' demand was only that the villagers stop their movement over the Kabristan land and a boundary wall be made from the funds of the Government for protecting the same so that in future no dispute arises regarding any encroachment.
When the standing counsel sought to urge that the petitioners have an alternative remedy under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and so this Court may not interfere, the Court said that it could not close its eyes to the ground realities.
Importantly, the Court said,
"This Court is of the opinion that the customary and religious rights of the Muslim community of village Boonda are being threatened and infringed by the acts of certain persons encroaching on the aforesaid kabristan."
Under the circumstances, the petition was disposed of with the following directions:
Lastly, the Court directed that compliance of the order be reported to this Court by affidavit/s within a period of three months.
The matter has been listed for further hearing on 17.4.2021.
Case title - Mohammad Shahid And 2 Others v. State Of U P And 7 Others [Public Interest Litigation (PIL) No. - 1720 of 2020]
Click Here To Download Order