Delhi HC dismisses plea for Shab-e-Barat prayers at Mehrauli mosque site

Advocate Shams Khwaja argued that the mosque, believed to be over 600 years old, was illegally razed by DDA officials

Delhi High Court (photo: IANS)
Delhi High Court (photo: IANS)


Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking permission to offer prayers and visit graves at the site of the recently demolished 600-year-old Akhunji (also referred to as Akhoondji) mosque in the city's Mehrauli area on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat.

Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav dismissed the application filed by the Delhi Waqf Board (DWB) managing committee, saying the court is not inclined to issue any directions at this stage, as the matter is already under consideration in a pending petition since 2022.

Justice Kaurav noted that the site is currently under the possession of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and the court has already issued a status quo order on the area where the mosque stood.

The court also said the plea for unhindered entry for prayers and visits to the graveyard constitutes a request for a mandatory injunction, which it is not inclined to grant at this time.

Advocate Shams Khwaja, representing the managing committee of Delhi Waqf Board, stressed the urgency of the application due to the significance of Shab-e-Barat, a night of forgiveness observed by Muslims. He argued that the demolished mosque, believed to be over 600 years old, was illegally razed by DDA officials.

However, the counsel for the DWB (not the same as DWB's managing committee) opposed the application, disputing the age of the mosque and its status as a waqf property. After hearing both parties, the court dismissed the application.

Earlier, the court had directed the DDA to maintain status quo specifically in the area where the mosque was situated but clarified that this order does not prevent the DDA from taking action on adjacent areas.

The managing committee of DWB alleges that the demolition of the mosque and madrasa was conducted brazenly, leaving the Imam and his family without shelter as their hutment was also destroyed.

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