HC refuses to entertain PIL against Proposed Demolition of Sunehri Bagh Mosque

 The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a PIL against the proposed demolition of Sunehri Bagh Mosque due to alleged traffic congestion in the area.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora noted that a similar petition is already pending before a single judge of the high court and said no orders are required to be passed.

“Since appropriate measures have already been taken by the Delhi Waqf Board in discharge of its legal and executive duties to protect waqf properties, this court is of the view that no order is required in the present writ petition. Accordingly, the petition is closed,” the bench said.

The bench also questioned the petitioner for filing the PIL with similar prayers even when one petition on the issue was already pending before the single judge.

The PIL filed by Waqf Welfare Forum was vehemently opposed by the counsel for the Centre, Delhi Police, Delhi Waqf Board and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) who contended that the petition was nothing more than a cut and paste work of the contentions and submissions advanced in the plea pending before the single judge filed by the Imam of Sunehri Bagh Masjid.

One of the prayers in the petition sought direction the Delhi Waqf Board to discharge its legal and executive duty to protect waqf properties as per the Waqf Act, 1995 and Waqf (amendment) Act, 2013.

Senior advocate Sanjoy Ghose, representing the Board, said appropriate steps have been taken to protect waqf properties and the Board is supporting the plea pending before the single judge.

He said due to the pendency of this fresh petition, today’s hearing before the single judge has been adjourned till February 28.

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The fresh petition sought quashing of the public notice published in newspapers on December 24, 2023 issued by the chief architect of the NDMC calling upon the general public to submit objections/ suggestions regarding removal of Sunehri Bagh Masjid due to alleged traffic congestion in the area.

The plea also sought direction to the authorities not to cause any harm to the mosque situated near Udyog Bhawan in Lutyens Delhi.

The petitioner sought declaring as unconstitutional vesting the respondents with powers to demolish, alter, alienate, convert the structure or religious character of the mosque or its removal or to disturb its heritage existence.

Before the single judge, petitioner Abdul Aziz, the Imam of Sunehri Bagh Masjid, has challenged the December 24, 2023 public notice by NDMC asking the general public to tender objections/ suggestions regarding removal of the mosque.

On December 18, the high court had closed the proceedings in a separate petition by the Delhi Waqf Board anticipating demolition of the mosque at the Sunehri Bagh Road roundabout while recording that the parties would act as per law.

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