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SC extends stay on court-monitored survey of Shahi Idgah mosque complex in Mathura

The Supreme Court on Monday extended the stay on the operation of the Allahabad High Court order that allowed a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque complex adjoining the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple in Mathura.
Last Updated : 15 April 2024, 14:25 IST
Last Updated : 15 April 2024, 14:25 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday extended the stay on the operation of the Allahabad High Court order that allowed a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque complex adjoining the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple in Mathura.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, meanwhile, posted for hearing in the week commencing August 5 a batch of petitions filed by the mosque management committee including the one challenging the May 26, 2023 order of the high court transferring to itself all matters related to the dispute pending before a Mathura court.

"All interim orders will continue. Re-list the matters in the week commencing August 5. Meanwhile, all pleading shall be completed," the bench ordered, adding that there will be no stay on the suit proceedings before the high court.

In Mathura, a suit was filed in the court of Civil Judge Senior Division (III) for shifting the Shahi Idgah mosque, claiming that it was constructed on a part of the 13.37 acre land of the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust.

The Hindu side had requested the high court to conduct the original trial like it had done in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute.

At the outset, senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Hindu outfits, said petitions challenging the maintainability of suits under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) are coming up for hearing before the high court on Tuesday.

He requested that the matter be listed for hearing after some time. Advocate Tasneem Ahmadi, appearing for the Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah, said the main matter which is listed for hearing is the one which challenges the high court order of May 26, 2023 transferring to itself the suits.

The bench said it would take up all the matters together in August.

On January 16, the top court had stayed the operation of the December 14, 2023 order of the high court allowing a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah mosque complex by which it had agreed to the appointment of a court commissioner to oversee the survey of the mosque premises which, the Hindu side claims, hold signs suggesting that a temple once existed at the site.

The mosque committee, in its plea, has submitted that the high court ought to have considered its petition for rejection of the plaint before deciding on any other miscellaneous application in the suit.

The committee had sought rejection of the plea before the high court on the ground that the lawsuit is barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which puts a bar on change of character of religious places as they existed on August 15, 1947. The disputed site in Ayodhya was exempted from the Act.

While allowing the plea for a court-monitored survey, the high court had said no harm should be caused to the Mathura structure during the exercise which it indicated could be overseen by a three-member commission of advocates.

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Published 15 April 2024, 14:25 IST

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