Lal Masjid Demolition: Centre agrees to not taking any action till April 29th

Kashish Jain

The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that it was no longer willing to take any action with regards to the matter of Lal Masjid till the end of the next month. This is because the Center seeks time to respond to the Delhi Waqf Board’s petition against the proposed demolition of the mosque.

The Board had approached the Court contending that mosque had been notified as its property and the dispute about the title of the land remains pending before the Waqf Tribunal.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, while adjourning the hearing for a later date, also said that the Delhi government is expected to proceed expeditiously toward filling up the member-position vacancies in the tribunal.

Concerning the proposed demolition, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma earlier submitted before the court that “nothing will happen” in the meantime.

The Centre and Central Reserve Police Force were asked to inform the Court if they had plans of demolishing the historical monument. 

Senior advocate Sanjoy Ghose, (Who is representing the Waqf board) had argued that the matter is pending before the Waqf Tribunal.

He also stated that the case has not been decided yet due to repeated adjournments and also because the statutory body is not functional as two member-positions in it have remained vacant for a considerable amount of time.

According to the petition filed by Advocate Wajeeh Shafiq, a Muslim graveyard along with the Masjid alongside the Link Road, village Aliganj, have been declared as Waqf properties in 1970. He also stated that the graveyard has been taken over by the CRPF and the mosque alone is surviving at present.

The dispute with CRPF regarding the land in question has been pending before the tribunal for a very long time but has met with the inability to reach closure that can be attributed to a defect in the constitution of the statutory body.

The petition seeks a direction for reconstituting the tribunal in terms of the provisions of the Waqf Act. The Delhi government had told the court that the matter regarding the nomination of the members of the tribunal is pending at the ministerial level.

It also made it a point to inform that appointments are likely to be notified within four weeks. Ghose sought a direction for expeditious filling up of the vacancies and said four weeks is a long time.