The Allahabad high court on Wednesday ordered removal of a mosque built on the court’s land after encroachment and directed the HC registrar general to ensure that in future no part of the high court premises, either at Allahabad or at Lucknow, is allowed to be used for religious activities.
Allowing a PIL filed by a high court lawyer, Abhishek Shukla, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale and Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta also directed the mosque authorities (waqf) to vacate the site in dispute and peacefully hand over its possession to the high court within three months from Wednesday .
The court also directed that while handing over the possession of the site, the waqf concerned shall also remove all structures standing on it. While passing the above directives, the court made it clear that if members of the waqf management fail to comply with any part of the directions within the stipulated time, the registrar general and other respondents shall take forcible possession of the entire site in dispute from it. For such purpose, it shall be open to them to seek police assistance or any other help as may be required for complying with the order.
Besides, the court directed the district administration to ensure that the site is freed from all unauthorized encroachments and its possession is handed over to the high court. The court further directed that the registrar general shall ensure that in future no part of the high court premises, either at Allahabad or at Lucknow, is permitted to be used for practicing religion or offering prayers or to worship or to carry on any religious activity by any group of persons.
The court, however, ordered that if the waqf, looking after the management of the mosque, moves an application to the state district administration within four weeks from Wednesday seeking allotment of an alternative site, the state district administration would deal with it sympathetically in accordance with law within eight weeks from the date it is filed.
The land in dispute is situated near the main building of the high court, adjacent to the nine-storied newly constructed building of the high court office on the Kanpur Road.
The petitioner moved the court alleging that a mosque has been constructed after encroaching upon the high court land.
The court, while passing the order, observed that the high court itself is facing acute shortage of land and because of shortage of chambers for judges, six out of 19 newly appointed judges are sharing chamber with another judge. Not only this, one judge is doing judicial work in his chamber because of shortage of courtrooms, the court added.
The court also said that because of encroachment of land, the fire brigade has not issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the nine-storied building.
Courtesy: Times of India