Delhi HC refuses to permit Shab-e-Barat Prayers at Akhoondji Mosque in Mehrauli

The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to permit prayers at the recently demolished ‘Akhoondji mosque’ and the nearby graveyard in Mehrauli on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat.

Muslims seek forgiveness from Allah for their sins and those of their ancestors on Shab-e-Barat (the night of atonement).

Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav, while dealing with an application by the Managing Committee of the Delhi Waqf Board, noted that the court has directed status quo on the site which is now in the possession of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

The application forms part of a petition by the committee on the issue of demolition.

Justice Kaurav observed that the main petition, which was heard by the court on several occasions, is already listed for final disposal on March 7.

“At this stage, the court is not inclined to pass any directions. The application is dismissed,” ordered the court.

The ‘Akhoondji mosque’, believed to be over 600 years old, as well as the Behrul Uloom madrasa there were declared as illegal structures in Sanjay Van and demolished by the DDA on January 30.

The counsel for the petitioner said worshippers, whose families are buried in the nearby graveyard, should be allowed offer prayers there on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat later this month.

He said the mosque was several centuries old and prayers were being offered there for the last many years. There was also an “active graveyard” which was used by the locals, the advocate told the court.

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On February 5, the high court had asked the DDA to maintain status quo on the site where the mosque once stood.

The petitioner committee has argued that the demolition of the mosque was illegal.

The DDA has defended its action before the high court on the ground that the demolition took place pursuant to the January 4 recommendation of its Religious Committee. The decision, it said, was taken after the Religious Committee afforded an opportunity of hearing to the CEO of Delhi Waqf Board. The petitioner has, however, contended that the Religious Committee has no jurisdiction to order any demolition action.

On January 31, the court asked the DDA to file its reply clearly setting out the action that has been taken in respect of the property concerned as well as its basis.

It also asked the development authority to state whether any prior notice was given before the demolition.

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