Delhi Supreme Court
The Delhi High Court said it is legally wrong for Maulvis, Pastors, Imams, Pandits and Sevakars to occupy places of public worship, live there with their families and claim to be private property. The Supreme Court said this practice is concerning and should be stopped immediately. The Supreme Court made the comment while rejecting a claim to a prime location next to Masjid Jabta Ganj on Man Singh Road near India Gate, Delhi.
Justice Pratibha M Singh said that in some cases the court has noted that some places of worship are converted into commercial property by going outside the allotted land. An attempt is also made to recover the rental amount for the said place in an illegal and unauthorized manner. In the present case itself, it is not clear on what basis the petitioner took in so many persons described as ’employees’ in the premises and that they continued to occupy the premises for many years. The Supreme Court denied the request, calling the petitioner an unauthorized resident. According to the Supreme Court, the petitioner has illegally occupied the property of the Delhi Waqf Board.
Demarcation Order Within Four Weeks: The Supreme Court ordered the concerned SDM along with the Delhi Waqf Board officials to properly demarcate the land allotted for the mosque within four weeks. The Supreme Court approved an order that the Waqf Board, vide Gazette notice issued in terms of the registered agreement dated July 3, 1945, would secure the land allotted to it and ensure that land not exceeding 0.095 acres would be occupied by the current Imam, his family or on his behalf. Do not allow anyone to occupy you, not even the residents.
Order to pay 15 lakh to Delhi Waqf Board within eight weeks
The court ordered the petitioner to pay Rs 15 lakh to the Delhi Waqf Board within eight weeks. In addition, he has also been asked to deposit Rs 2 lakh as court costs at the Delhi Waqf Board within 8 weeks.
The property of the mosque cannot be claimed
According to the Supreme Court, the petitioner and the three individuals he represents are clearly unauthorized residents and intruders who had no right to the property. An Imam’s family cannot claim any rights to the property of the mosque as the property rests with the Waqf. The Imam is appointed only for the purpose of offering prayers and taking care of the Waqf property. The petitioner argued in court that he and his family have been living on this property for decades.