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MHA files affidavit in Delhi High Court against re-opening of Nizamuddin Markaz

The Ministry of Home Affairs has filed an affidavit before the Delhi High Court, opposing the re-opening of Nizamuddin Markaz in the national capital for public entry, saying that the premises is part of an ongoing probe in respect of cases having ‘trans-border implication and diplomatic consideration’.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta, while hearing a plea filed by the Delhi Waqf Board demanding the opening of Markaz, which has been closed since March 31 last year following a congregation of Tablighi Jamat at the premises amid Covid-19, expressed displeasure over prolonged sealing of the said premises.

The Centre yesterday submitted, “The present premises has been kept under lock and key in view of the fact that the organisers of Markaz and Masjid are under investigation.”

Claiming that around 1300 foreigners were found at the Markaz and that cases against them have cross border implications, the affidavit stated,

“In view of the seriousness of the case which has trans-border implication and diplomatic consideration, it is just and necessary that the case property in such a case is preserved in letter and spirit, so that the due process of law in dealing with such cases is followed. In addition, it is submitted that the restriction on the Waqf’s right under Article 26 of the Constitution is imposed on public order considerations on the ground that the said premises were not being used in accordance with law.” 

The Centre further challenged the maintainability of the petition on the ground that the power to take any legal action in respect of the premises vest with the lessee and not with the Delhi Waqf Board.

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The Bench issued notice on an impleadment application moved by Masjid Bangle Wali and Madarsa Kashif-ul-Uloom and slated the matter for November 16. The petition, filed through Advocate Wajeeh Shafiq, sought directions to the respondent to reassess the necessity of keeping the Waqf premises available for operation as a religious place. 

According to the petitioner, the premises situated at Hazrat Nizamuddin is a Waqf property, comprising a Mosque, a Madrasa and a hostel, and is locked since March 31, 2020. The petitioner urged that Markaz be reopened as its fundamental right to worship is being violated. Even if the Government needs to investigate or wants to retain the place as an evidence, they can do so. No resistance will be offered to the Magistrate or any investigating officer visiting the site, the petitioner contended.

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