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Allahabad High Court gives time to Shahi Masjid Idgah, Deeg Darwaza and Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board Mathura for filing rejoinder

The Allahabad High Court has given time to the Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah, Deeg Darwaza and Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board Mathura to file rejoinder affidavit on behalf of Bhagwan Sri Krishna Virajman and to present the petition for final hearing on 17th April.

A Single Bench of Justice Prakash Padia passed this order while hearing a petition filed by C/M Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah.

The Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah, Deeg Darwaza, Mathura through its Secretary Tanveer Ahmad Advocate file petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India inter alia with the prayer to set aside the order dated 19.05.2022 passed in Civil Revision (Bhagwan Sri Krishna Virajman Vs U.P Sunni Central Waqf Board and others) passed by the District Judge Mathura.

Facts as narrated in the petition are that respondent Nos 2 to 9 filed a suit which was registered as Misc Case in the Court of Civil Judge (Incharge) Senior Division Mathura against the petitioner and respondent Nos 10 to 12 with the following prayers:-

(a) seeking relief in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants cancelling the judgment and decree dated 20.7.1973 and judgment and decree dated 7.11.1974 passed in Civil Suit No 43/1967 passed by Civil Judge, Mathura.

(b) to declare the judgment and decree dated 7.11.1974 passed in Civil Suit No. 43/1967 passed by learned Civil Judge Mathura as not binding upon the plaintiffs.

(c) a decree for declaration declaring that land measuring 13.37 Acres of Katra Keshav Deo shown by letter no A,B.C,D in the site plan vest in the deity lord Sri Krishna Virajman. That the aforesaid suit was heard on 25.09.2020 on maintainability of the same and as such, it was registered as Misc Case No 176 of 2020 fixing 30.09.2020 for hearing on the maintainability of the suit.

The Court noted that,

On 30.09.2020, the suit in question was heard at length and thereafter the Court of Incharge Civil Judge (Senior Division) Mathura found that the plaintiffs have no right to sue and as such the same was dismissed vide its order dated 30.09.2020.

Aggrieved against the aforesaid order, the plaintiff Nos 2 to 9 filed a regular Civil Appeal in the Court of District Judge Mathura on 12.10.2020. The said appeal was admitted vide its order dated 16.10.2020.

The petitioner filed its objection regarding maintainability of the appeal and filed an application in this regard on 07.01.2021.

The District Judge, Mathura allowed the aforesaid application filed by the petitioner and recalled the order dated 16.10.2020 by which the appeal filed by the plaintiffs respondents was admitted and a direction was given to convert the same into the revision. Thereafter the aforesaid appeal has been converted into Revision.

In the aforesaid revision, five questions were taken into consideration by the Revisional Court and after recording findings on the aforesaid questions, the revision was allowed vide its order dated 19.05.2022 and the order dated 30.09.2020 passed in Misc Case was set aside and the trial Court was directed to hear both the parties and to pass appropriate order in the light of the observations made in the order dated 19.05.2022.

It is argued that order passed by the Revisional Court is illegal since the maintainability of the revision as well as the objection raised in the same, was not taken into consideration in the correct manner by the Revisional Court while passing the order impugned.

It is further argued that the order dated 19.05.2022 is totally beyond the jurisdiction of the Revisional Court.

It is argued by S.F.A Naqvi, Senior Counsel in the connected matter, that question of right to sue is totally barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

It is further argued by him that the aforesaid Act prohibits conversion of any place of worship and to provide for maintenance of religious structure of any place of worship as it exists on 15th Day of August, 1947.

S.F.A Naqvi, Senior Counsel also placed reliance upon the five judges Bench judgement passed in the case of M Siddiq Vs, Mahant Suresh Das and others (Babri Masjid – Ram Janam Bhumi Case) (2020) 1 SCC 1.

It is argued that the law has already been settled by the Apex Court in the aforesaid case to preserve the constitutional value of secularism by not permitting the status of place of worship to be changed.

It is further argued that the question as to whether the provisions of Places of Worship Act will be applicable or not was not taken into consideration. Hence the order passed by the Revisional Court is liable to be set aside.

It is also argued that the Places of Worship Act is a legislative instrument designed to protect the secular features of the country and the Constitution of India.

The petition has already been connected with Matter Under Article 227 No 5967 of 2022 (U.P Sunni Central Waqf Board Vs Bhagwan Sri Krishna Virajman And 10 Others). In the aforesaid petition also the same prayer has been made out as has been made in the petition.

The petition filed by the U.P Sunni Central Waqf Board was duly entertained by the Court and further proceedings of Misc Case pursuant to the order dated 19.05.2022 was stayed.

Counter affidavit has been filed in both the petitions by the respondents.

The Court granted two weeks time to file a rejoinder affidavit for the petitioner in both the petitions.

It is made clear that both the petitions will be decided finally on the said date, the Court said.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on April 17, 2023.

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