High Court allows ASI to raze illegal structure at 'mosque site'

Warning against giving communal overtone to the issue of disputed structure near Jama Masjid, the Delhi High Court on Monday permitted the ASI to demolish illegal constructions in the area to ascertain whether remains of a Mughal-era structure existed.

The court hoped that better sense will prevail over everyone and the Archaeological Survey of India will be allowed to perform its task.

Asking people not to take law onto their own hands or give ‘unnecessary communal overtone’ to the issue, a full bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri said they should not seek to draw their own conclusions when the court will be monitoring all aspects.

“Religion is said to be the opium of the masses. It can be both a great unifying factor, but also disruptive of social peace where in the name of a religion, extreme postures are taken.

It is the bounden-duty of all sane members of the society to ensure that the lives of general public are not affected by posturing on matters of religion,” the bench observed.

Issuing a slew of directions to ASI, North Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and police to ensure peace and harmony in the area, the court said, “We must note here with regret the endeavour of few miscreants who by their hostile action tend to create a surcharged atmosphere and damage public and private property.”

The bench made it clear that such elements should not be allowed to go scot free. It is high time that such a group is made accountable both in civil law and criminal law for their misconceived actions. 

The court directed the police to bring to book the miscreants, who damaged public and private property and attempted to create a communal incident at the site after the July 20 order.

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