The Supreme Court has ordered to maintain status quo in the case relating to the removal of a mosque situated in the Allahabad High Court complex. The Allahabad HC had last year ordered the mosque to be removed from the court premises.
The Wakf Board had moved to the Apex Court challenging November 8, 2017, Allahabad High Court order directing the removal of the mosque from the court premises. Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi, speaking on behalf of the High Court, had submitted before the Supreme Court in April year that a mosque structure cannot be accommodated inside the High Court premises.
The court had issued a notice to the State of UP to evaluate if the State could provide alternate land for relocation of the Mosque. A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta had issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government, Registrar General of the Allahabad High Court and other respondents to the petition.
The Allahabad High Court while hearing a petition had ordered on November 8, 2017, that the Wakf should handover vacant and peaceful possession of the site in dispute to the High Court within a period of three months from the date of judgment. The High Court had cited the reason of acute crunch of space.
The High Court had referred to the need of completing the construction of its Administrative Annexe due to an increase in the number of judges in the court. “Recently, 19 additional Judges have been sworn in, but because of shortage of space, as many as 12 of them are sharing six chambers. The High Court could not arrange and allocate them separate chambers. On one or two occasions, when the Division Benches on Friday had to split and judges were required to sit singly, one judge had to sit in chamber and conduct hearing of the matters assigned to him”, the court said.
The two-judge Bench of the High Court consisting of Justice D B Bhosale and Justice M K Gupta had said, “the unauthorized possession, as well as the unauthorized structures existing over the site in dispute, cannot be permitted to continue any longer”.
Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the Wakf Board said that the Supreme Court had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to find a solution to the problem but nothing happened. He said that the mosque has been there since 1950, therefore, it cannot be removed.