SC orders status quo at excavated site near Jama Masjid

SC orders status quo at excavated site near Jama Masjid

 Pulling up a legislator for taking the law into his hands, the Supreme Court Tuesday ordered status quo over a structure built near the excavated remains of a purported Mughal-era mosque near the historic Jama Masjid here.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice J. Chelameswar asked all the parties to maintain status quo till Thursday when the matter would come up for hearing.

The court order on status quo came on the petition by Delhi legislator Shoaib Iqbal challenging the Sep 19 Delhi High Court order directing the demolition of the structure in Subhash Park.

The high court Sep 19 reiterated its July 30 order, directing the demolition of a wall constructed allegedly by Iqbal and his supporters for what they called protecting the purported mosque, whose remains were discovered during digging by Delhi Metro.
Ordering status quo, Chief Justice Kabir said:

"We would like to hear the views of the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India, the Delhi government and the Union of India and, thereafter, we will go into the details."

The court pulled up Iqbal and said: “Why did you take the law into your hand? You think that you can do anything you like. Why did you do that. Duty is not cast upon you to do illegal things.”

Chief Justice Kabir slammed Iqbal when senior counsel Anoop Chaudhari, who appeared for Iqbal, mentioned the matter in the post-lunch session in the court.
“You could have taken injunction but you take law in your hand,” Chief Justice Kabir told Chaudhari.

The senior counsel urged the court to rule that the wall built to protect the mosque's remains be preserved till the high court decided the issue. Chaudhari told the court that no activity was going on at the site.

On a poser, the court was told that it was a public land and was being used as a park.
Iqbal in his petition contended that the demolition of the wall may lead to “communal violence, disruption of peace and harmony through out the country...”. He said that this was also the view of police.

Some residents claim that the excavated remains are that of the 17th century Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque. The high court has asked the ASI to verify the claim.

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