SC refuses to stay Allahabad HC order on Mathura’s Shahi Idgah on oral plea of mosque committee

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Allahabad High Court’s decision allowing a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah adjoining the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple in Mathura on an oral plea by the Muslim side and asked them to challenge the order by way of an appeal.

The high court had on Thursday allowed a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah and agreed to the appointment of an advocate commissioner to oversee the survey of the mosque premises.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti deferred until January 9 the hearing on a plea filed by the Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah challenging the May 26 order of the high court transferring to itself all matters related to the dispute pending before a Mathura court.

“List the special leave petition on January 9. All the contentions and issues will be considered on the said date. In case petitioners have any grievance, it will be open to them to file a challenge in accordance with law,” the bench ordered.

The bench told senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the mosque committee, who said the high court has been considering interlocutory applications having ‘far reaching ramifications’ in the matter and passing orders, that the order of the high court passed on Thursday has not been formally challenged before it.

Ahmadi said the high court is entertaining application after application even as the issue of its jurisdiction to transfer to itself all matters related to the dispute is under challenge before the apex court.

Justice Khanna, while refusing to interfere with the high court order passed on Thursday said, “How can we stay the order which is not before us? You challenge the order, then we will see.”

Ahmadi said the high court order was uploaded on its website late Thursday evening and hence they could not file an appeal.

When Ahmadi pointed out the Supreme Court is going on a winter break from Monday and the high court may pass orders in the matter, Justice Khanna said, “Please tell the high court that this matter is listed on January 9 in the Supreme Court. That will be enough.”

Justice Khanna said if the petitioners still have any grievances related to the dispute, they can mention them for urgent listing even during the winter break after following the due process.

“You know the procedure for mentioning the matter during vacations if any adverse order is passed,” Justice Khanna told Ahmadi.

The Supreme Court will be on winter break from December 18 to January 1, 2024.

On November 10, the top court had refused to stay the proceedings before the high court on suits related to the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah dispute, saying it will not be appropriate for it to interfere with the high court order without hearing both sides.

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In Mathura, Bal Krishna through Hindu Sena chief Vishnu Gupta and others had filed a suit in the court of Civil Judge Senior Division (III) for shifting of the Shahi Masjid Idgah, which they claim was constructed on a part of the 13.37 acre land of the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust.

The high court had on May 26 transferred to itself all matters related to the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah dispute pending before the Mathura court.

It had passed the order while allowing the transfer application filed by Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajman at Katra Keshav Dev Khewat Mathura (deity) through the next friend, Ranjana Agnihotri, and seven others.

The petitioners before the high court had requested that the original trial must be conducted by it like Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute.

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