The Imam of the Sunehri Bagh mosque on Saturday moved the Delhi High Court against the proposed demolition of the structure due to alleged traffic congestion in the area.
Petitioner Abdul Aziz challenged a December 24 public notice issued by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) seeking objections and suggestions from the general public by January 1 regarding the demolition of the mosque.
A vacation bench of Justice Manoj Jain listed the petition for hearing on January 8 following an assurance from the NDMC’s counsel that nothing would happen in the meantime as a final call on the action has to be taken by the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC).
“Your lordship may simply adjourn this. Nothing is going to happen. The decision has to be taken by the HCC, not by us. We just have to call for suggestions,” the NDMC’s counsel said.
“I can’t even touch a brick without HCC permission,” he said.
The counsel for the petitioner said he was not pressing for an interim order at this stage and argued that the law does not give power to the NDMC to remove a heritage structure.
“The court may list the petition before the roster bench. Let them take instructions. I am not asking for any stay order,” he said.
The court questioned the locus of the Imam to file the petition instead of the Delhi Waqf Board.
The Imam’s counsel said he filed the petition to protect his congregation as the Sunehri Bagh mosque is a functioning mosque.
In his plea, the petitioner said the mosque is more than 150 years old and a heritage building that is a symbol of cultural legacy.
“Various government buildings including Vayu Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan and Udyog Bhawan Metro Station blended harmoniously with the Sunehri Bagh Masjid and thus due to these offices, the movement of vehicles started in the area which… clearly shows that these government offices have contributed to the traffic, if any, in that area and not because of Sunehri Bagh Masjid as theorized by NDMC/Traffic Police,” the petition said.
“The petitioner being the Imam of Sunehri Bagh Masjid is witnessing the condition of traffic in the area. The petitioner submits that the traffic in the area is regulated and when required, barricades are put and there is no complaint of any resistance of such regulation and barricades from the petitioner or the worshippers,” it added.
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 the law.