India

Shahi Idgah: Allahabad HC reserves verdict on maintainability of suits

A Hindu temple and the Shahi Idgah Mosque side by side in Mathura UP. [Photo: Wikimedia]

Allahabad: On Thursday, the Allahabad High Court reserved its decision on a petition challenging the admissibility of lawsuits related to the Shahi Idgah mosque dispute in Mathura.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed seeking the “removal” of the Shahi Idgah mosque, which is situated next to the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple. The litigants assert that the mosque, constructed during Aurangzeb’s era, was built after demolishing the temple.

The mosque’s management committee has contested these lawsuits, arguing that they are prohibited under the Places of Worship Act, 1991. The Muslim side, comprising the mosque management committee and the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, maintains that the suits acknowledge the mosque was built in 1669-70.

The Hindu litigants have a common request in their suits for the “removal” of the Shahi Idgah mosque from the 13.37-acre complex shared with the Katra Keshav Dev temple in Mathura, including additional demands for possession of the Shahi Idgah premises.

On May 31, after extensive hearings from both sides, the high court reserved its judgment. However, it reopened the hearing following a request from Shahi Idgah’s counsel, Mehmood Pracha.

On Thursday, representing the mosque, Pracha stated that the arguments on the application under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), presented by the defendant (Muslim side), were concluded by Taslima Aziz Ahmadi, thus concluding the hearing on the application. Pracha also requested that his right to an audience be preserved and that the further court proceedings be videographed.

Additionally, he argued that since the suit is between the plaintiffs and defendants, the court should not appoint anyone as amicus curiae.

The court accepted Pracha’s first request and reserved its judgment on the maintainability of the suits but decided to address the other two requests after the order on maintainability is issued.

The high court has appointed senior advocate Manish Goyal as amicus curiae for the case. The Hindu plaintiffs also argued that there is no government record of property under the name Shahi Idgah, claiming the mosque has been illegally occupied.

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