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Delhi HC seeks Centre’s stand on plea over protection of Waqf properties in central vista redevelopment

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NEW DELHI, Dec 8: The Delhi High Court Friday sought the stand of the Centre on the status of Waqf properties likely to be impacted by the Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Centre to file a status report stating whether certain properties of the Delhi Waqf Board have been impacted or are likely to be affected by the project.

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The board had moved the high court in 2021 for preservation and protection of six of its properties in the area in which the redevelopment work was ongoing – Masjid Zabta Ganj at Mansingh Road, Jama Masjid at Red Cross Road, Masjid Sunehri Bagh Road Near Udyog Bhawan, Mazar Sunehri Bagh Road behind Moti Lal Nehru Marg, Masjid Krishi Bhawan inside Krishi Bhawan Compound and Masjid Vice President at the official residence of the Vice President of India.

The Waqf counsel Friday said that during the pendency of the proceedings, the mazar near Sunehri Bagh mosque was demolished and urged the court to pass an interim order in their favour.

The court observed that it cannot pass an injunction order without hearing the Centre when the matter has been pending for the last over two years.

“Counsel for Union of India is directed to file a status report with regard to the status of properties referred to in the writ petition and specifically as to whether the properties have been or are likely to be affected by central vista redevelopment,” the court ordered.

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Central government counsel said the Central Vista Redevelopment Project was dynamic and the mazar was demolished by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Currently no action was being taken with respect to the properties, he said.

In December 2021, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had assured the high court that “nothing is happening” to Delhi Waqf Board properties in the vicinity and said that being a “long plan”, the redevelopment has not reached the properties in question.

The high court had then adjourned hearing, saying it has “full faith” in the solicitor general and turned down the petitioner’s senior lawyer’s request to take the statement on record.

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Claiming that the six properties “are more than an ordinary mosque and have a distinction attached to them”, the petition has stated that neither the British government nor the government of India ever created any hindrance in the observance of religious practices at these properties which were always preserved.

“The Waqf properties, subject matter of the present petition, are all more than 100 years old and are continuously being used for religious purpose. It is not the case that the government buildings were built first and thereafter these properties came into existence, to the contrary, these properties were well in existence when the government buildings were constructed around them or in the vicinity,” the petition filed through lawyer Wajeeh Shafiq claimed.

The matter would be heard next on February 9. (PTI)





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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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