Today, the Supreme Court of India ordered to remove the mosque named “Masjid High Court” from the Allahabad High Court. The bench directed the petitioners to remove the mosque within a time period of three months. The Supreme Court bench including Justice CT Ravikumar and Justice MR Shah dismissed the petition today filed by UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and Waqf Masjid High Court against the 2017 Allahabad HC order to move the mosque out of the Allahabad HC premises. The top Court allowed the petitioners to make a representation for allotment of alternate land nearby for the mosque to the Uttar Pradesh Government. The bench also added the petitioners cannot claim to use the land as a matter of right to continue because it was a lease property. The SC said that “We further grant three months time to demolish the construction in question by the petitioners and if the construction is not removed within a period of 3 months from today, it will be open for authorities including the High Court to have them removed or demolished.”
During the hearing, an Advocate appearing for the management committee of the mosque, Kapil Sibal, said that it is not right to just ask to move out the mosque as it has been there since 1950s. He also added, “The government changed in 2017 and everything changed. A PIL is filed 10 days after the new government was formed. We have no problems with shifting to an alternative place as long as they give it to us.” Senior Advocate also submitted that the HC need the mosque land to increase the set-back for additional floors, “Now they say they have built 9 storeys, so they need a set back of 11 meters. So, they say we have to go…They don’t have 11 meters on all sides. All they want 11 meters on our side.” He also claimed that despite this they can move the mosque if a land is provided for relocation.
The other Advocate appearing for the HC, Rakesh Dwivedi, said “Twice there were renewal applications and there was no whisper at all that the mosque was constructed and it was used for the public. They sought renewal saying it was needed for residential purposes. The mere fact that they are offering namaz will not make it a mosque. If in the Supreme Court verandah or HC verandha, if namaz is allowed for convenience, it will not become a mosque. These activities will not make it a mosque. Mosque is a serious affair. It should be dedicated in a proper way. Sometimes we see namaz in roads outside small mosques. That will not make the roads mosques.” The Senior Advocate further highlighted the matter as fraud stating that, “In 2002, they managed to get it registered as a waqf to stall eviction and they managed for 20 years. Then they say it is because of the Govt change. They are making religious colours in the HC direction too.”