Lucknow: The Allahabad high court on Wednesday ordered shifting of a mosque built on encroached court land within three months, adding that the land should be handed back to the court.
A division bench of Chief Justice D.B. Bhonsle and Justice M.K. Gupta passed this order on a public interest litigation filed by an advocate Abhishek Shukla.
According to the order, if the land is not handed over within the stipulated time, the Allahabad district magistrate, SSP and Allahabad development authority “shall take forcible possession of the entire site in dispute from Sunni Waqf Board or anyone....and for such purpose it shall be open to them to seek police assistance or any other help as may be required for complying this order”.
In the same order, the court has asked Sunni Waqf Board, other respondents to “make an application to the state/ district administration, within four weeks from today seeking allotment of an alternative site which the court assured would be considered “sympathetically in accordance with law within eight weeks from the date of the application”.
The court also directed the Registrar of the Courts “to ensure that in future no part of the high court premises, either at Allahabad or at Lucknow, is permitted to be used for practicing religion or offering prayers or to worship or to carry on any religious activity by any group of persons”.
The mosque is a major stumbling block in the completion of the nine-storied high court annexe building.
The new construction has not been given a NOC by the fire department due to the encroachment.
According to rules, 11 metres of land has to be kept vacant around the building for the movement of the fire brigade in an emergency situation.
The Allahabad district administration and high court administration had also submitted a report for the same. Following the judgement, the security of the judges and the court has been increased.