A bench of Justices D K Jain and A R Dave directed the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit a report in two weeks on the surveys undertaken after 2005 by the Survey of India and the Central Building Research Institute on its safety aspect.
It had on October 14 taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the ancient monument facing threat due to inadequate supply of water from the Yamuna river.
The court, which had sought response from the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, expressed dissatisfaction over the state government’s affidavit filed on the issue. The bench also posed query to counsel appearing for the UP government whether it was the job of the court to protect monuments.
“The monument is in your state. But this is how you take care of your monument? Is it the duty of the Supreme Court to take care of it? No one seems to be interested,” it said.
Advocate Ajay Agrawal pointed out that the state government had taken no steps despite a direction by the apex court on December 30, 1996, to construct a barrage for ensuring adequate water supply to the monument.
The court last month issued notices on the news report which contained a statement from BJP MP Ram Shankar Katheria saying the Taj could collapse in five years. The MP had said the foundation of the monument, built between 1631 and 1648 on the banks of the Yamuna in Agra by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, had been damaged and the wood used in the wells had been rotten.