No other option but to utilise land for smooth traffic flow after removal of mosque: NDMC to Delhi HC  


On July 7, the court had directed the NDMC and the police to present their stance on the petition filed by the Delhi Waqf Board (DWB) which expresses concerns over the potential demolition of the mosque.

In its reply, the NDMC has said that the joint inspection was carried out twice in response to the Delhi traffic police letter regarding the increase in traffic. It is further stated that the officials involved unanimously concluded that the historic mosque is required to be removed/relocated.

The reply said: “…there is no other adequate feasible option but to utilise the piece of the land after removal of the religious structure in the larger public interest. The petition is liable to be declined and the petition may be dismissed.”

The Municipal Council said that the area in question is a high security zone as it is in close proximity to central government offices, Parliament, the central vista project and offices of high-ranked officers of defence forces.

It also said that due to the movement of high officials, defence forces and foreign dignitaries, the heavy traffic congestion on this roundabout, and also in the adjoining area, has become a matter of serious concern.

The NDMC said the matter is also pending for consideration before the religious committee under the chairmanship of Delhi government’s Secretary (Home).

A bench of Justice Prateek Jalan extended the interim order directing the authorities to maintain status quo and asked them to place before the court the report of the religious committee, once it is made available.

The judge has listed the matter for hearing next on October 6.

Earlier, in a bid to gather accurate information, the court had instructed all parties involved to conduct a joint inspection at the site.

Justice Jalan had issued notice on the plea seeking to protect a mosque from potential harm caused by the NDMC.

The court had also emphasised the need for a practical and holistic approach, urging both parties to adopt a reasonable perspective.

The judge had highlighted that indigenous properties are not exempt from acquisition as long as statutory conditions are met.

He had stressed on the importance of treating all religious structures equally and applying consistent policies.

Consequently, the court had ordered a joint inspection to take place on July 12, 2023, at 3 pm, with the option for further inspections if necessary.

“Notice shall be issued. The concerned parties are instructed to conduct a joint inspection on July 12, 2023, at 3 pm, and may schedule additional inspections as required. The NDMC is authorised to notify any other relevant authority about the inspection,” the court had said.

“The respondents are directed to submit their response to the petition along with the necessary records within a period of two weeks. The report of the joint inspection should be presented as well,” the court had ordered.

The petitioner’s advocate, Wajeeh Shafiq, had informed the court that the authorities had conducted an inspection at the site without the petitioner’s presence.

“The inspection was carried out based on a letter from the traffic police requesting the NDMC to assess the feasibility of redesigning the Sunehri Bagh roundabout due to increased traffic issues in the area,” Shafiq had argued.

The petitioner had argued that the presence of the mosque was not the cause of traffic problems and that the notice for inspection was given less than 24 hours in advance.

The petition claims that the mosque’s demolition was planned for the week starting July 3, 2023, following a pattern of demolishing waqf properties without following proper legal procedures.

The plea also states that the mosque had been in existence for over 150 years and served a large number of worshippers, hosting daily prayers, Friday prayers, and Eid prayers.

It alleges that the congestion in the area was not due to the mosque but rather due to uncontrolled vehicle parking on both sides of Motilal Nehru Marg.

As the counsel for the petitioner had urged the court to direct maintenance of status quo, the counsel for the NDMC had said the apprehension with respect to demolition of the mosque in the near future is misplaced.



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