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Lucknow District court allows Hindu litigants to appeal for a survey of Teele Wali Masjid

The Hindu litigants had argued that Lakshman, Lord Ram's younger brother, had constructed the "Lakshman Teela" on the disputed mosque complex site where the present Teele Wali Masjid stands.

On Thursday, February 9, a District Court in Lucknow held that a lawsuit of Lord Sheshnagesh Tileshwar Temple situated in the complex of the disputed Teele Wali Masjid on the Laxman Teela along Gomti river is maintainable. 

The bench of additional district judge-I (ADJ-I) Prafull Kamal has permitted Hindu litigants to appeal at a lower court for a survey of the Teele Wali Masjid. The contention by the Muslim litigants that the case cannot be maintained was rejected by the ADJ court. The revision petition was filed by Sunni Central Waqf Board pleading that the case was time-barred under the Places of Worship Act 1991.

ADJ Kumar upheld the senior division civil judge’s order dated September 25, 2017, which stated that the case was maintainable and should be decided on grounds of merit.

The next hearing in the case will be held on February 17.

The Hindu litigants had argued that Lakshman, Lord Ram’s younger brother, had constructed the “Lakshman Teela” on the disputed mosque complex site where the present Teele Wali Masjid stands. There are ancient temples dedicated to Sheshnagesh Tileshwar and other Hindu deities that were allegedly demolished in 2013 in an attempt to alter the site’s religious character. In the original lawsuit filed in 2013, the Hindu plaintiffs sought a survey of the mosque complex to be conducted.

In 2013, Lord Sheshnagesh Tileshwar Mahadev Virajman, Laxman Tila Sheshnag Teerth Bhoomi, and others filed a civil claim in a lower civil court, alleging that a Hindu sacred edifice was demolished to make place for a mosque during the era of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Hindu petitioners claimed that a portion of the property where the mosque stood was theirs and should be given to them.

According to advocate Harishankar Jain, who is also involved in the cases of the Gyanvapi complex and the Mathura mosque, the whole complex is the site of Sheshnagesh Tileshwar Mahadev, which was destroyed during Islamic tyrant Aurangzeb’s reign.

The Secretary Home Ministry through the Union of India, the Lucknow Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India, the State of Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary Home, District Magistrate Lucknow, Director General of Police UP, Senior Superintendent of Police Lucknow, Superintendent of Police West Lucknow, Inspector Chowk, CEO of Sunni Central Board, Chief Executive Officer through the Waqf, and Maulana Fajalurrehman have been named as respondents in the case.

The Places of Worship Act, 1991

The Places of Worship Act, 1991 was passed by the PV Narasimha Rao-led Congress regime to maintain the status quo of the religious character of places of worship as it was in 1947, except in the case of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, which was already in court. It was also to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of such a place of worship as on that day.

The Act states that a site of worship’s religious character must remain the same as it was on August 15, 1947. The law also states that nobody ever shall translate any religious denomination’s holy site into one of a distinct denomination or section.

The law also asserts that each and every lawsuit, appeal, or other proceedings pertaining to changing the character of the area of worship pending before any court or authority on August 15, 1947, will be terminated as soon as the legislation becomes effective, meaning there cannot be any further legal proceedings.

The act also imposes a positive obligation on the state to maintain the religious character of every place of worship as it existed at the time of independence.

Exemptions

There is a legal exception. If the change of status occurred after the cutoff date of August 15, 1947, legal action may be taken under the Places of Worship Act, 1991. This saves court cases, lawsuits, and appeals involving the possibility of status that were filed after the cutoff date.

Additionally, any place of worship that is an ancient monument, historical site, or archaeological site protected by the 1958 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act is exempt from the statute.

Any lawsuit that has been successfully resolved, any dispute that has been settled amicably between the parties, or any conversion of place that occurred prior to the commencement of the Act.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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