The Supreme Court on Monday, 13 March, declined to interfere with an Allahabad High Court order from 2017 directing the removal of a mosque from its premises.
What else? A bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar allowed three months time for the implementation of the High Court order and also let the petitioner, the Waqf Masjid High Court to appeal to the State government for alternative land.
The origin of the case: The case started when Abhishek Shukla, in a petition before the Allahabad High Court, contended that the mosque, a Waqf board property stood on High Court-owned land.
Following this, a division bench of the Allahabad High Court ruled in 2017 that the unauthorised structures existing over the site in dispute in the High Court premises, cannot be permitted to continue.
The High Court had highlighted the "acute crunch of space" in the premises and said that the mosque was hindering the movement of the fire brigade.
Further, the court noted that due to the increase in the number of the judges and the shortage of space, separate chambers for twelve judges, who are sharing six chambers, could not be arranged.
The case, after this, reached the Supreme Court.
In The Courtroom: Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the mosque committee, argued contended that PIL before the High Court was filed soon after the Yogi Adityanath government assumed power in the State (in 2017).
He pointed out that the High Court's reasoning of lack of space for the fire brigade, has to be applied to all the properties on the premises and not just the mosque
Both Sibal and Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, who was also representing the petitioners, asked for alternate land as relief
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati argued that there was another mosque next to the High Court, and the appellants had rightly said that they do not have any claim or rights to the disputed property.
(With inputs from Bar and Bench)