Sunehri Bagh Mosque Removal issue Pending before Heritage Committee, Delhi HC told

The Delhi High Court was on Wednesday told that the issue of proposed demolition of Sunehri Bagh Masjid has been sent to the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) for its recommendation.

The court was hearing a petition by the imam of the mosque challenging a December 24 public notice by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) asking the general public to give objections/suggestions regarding removal of the mosque.

Senior advocate Sanjay Jain, appearing for the traffic police, said the petition was infructuous at this stage as the HCC was now seized of the issue and the petitioner cannot “anticipate” the decision of the committee.

Justice Sachin Datta also questioned the petitioner’s counsel on this aspect, asking if the plea was now academic as the stage of a demolition threat would come only after a recommendation is made by the HCC.

Senior advocate Viraj R Datar, representing the petitioner, said he was challenging the legality of the NDMC’s action and in the absence of the present plea, he would have to “come rushing in 48 hours” if an adverse recommendation is made by the HCC.

Datar also opposed an application by ‘Waqf Welfare Forum’ seeking to intervene in the matter following a high court division bench’s refusal to entertain its PIL on the issue.

The court rejected the application and said “no ground is made out by the applicant to seek intervention”.

Last year, petitioner Abdul Aziz — the Imam — had approached the high court against the proposed demolition of the religious structure due to alleged traffic congestion in the area by challenging the NDMC notice in this regard.

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NDMC counsel has earlier said that a final call on the action has to be taken by the Heritage Conservation Committee.

In the petition, the petitioner has said the mosque is more than 150 years old and a heritage building which is a symbol of cultural legacy travelled through centuries.

“Various govt. 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 fact clearly shows that these govt. offices have contributed to the traffic if any in that area and not because of Sunehri Bagh Masjid as theorised 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.

The matter would be heard next in March.

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