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Qutub Minar title claim: Delhi Court reserves verdict on plea of Kunwar Mahendra Prasad, next hearing on September 17

A local court in Delhi on Tuesday reserved its verdict on petitions seeking the right of restoration and worship of Hindu and Jain deities inside the Qutub Minar complex, along with a title claim plea filed by one Kunwar Mahendra Djwaja Prasad Singh, over the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Dinesh Kumar of Saket heard the merits of a petition filed by Kunwar Prasad, demanding to be made a party in the case.

Arguing on the maintainability of the petition, Counsel of Kunwar Mahendra Singh, M.L. Sharma, alleged that the government had taken over the entire property in 1947 without his permission.

ADSJ Kumar said the question was only proprietary right here. The court observed that Kunwar Mahendra neither had possession of the ASI-protected site now, nor did he ever come to the court.

The same few people were demanding the right of worship there, added the ADSJ.

Advocate Sharma said the petition was filed in the Allahabad High Court in 1960, which was still pending there.

Concerning the rights of Qutub Minar, he said a letter was also written to the President and the Prime Minister, alleging that his property in different states was in possession of the government. He added that since the Kunwar could not go to courts in different states, he wrote a letter to the President.

The petitioner contended that they only want to be a party in the matter, adding that they did not want anything else.

The court then asked the petitioner, whether the verdict can be pronounced on the petition seeking right to worship without making him a party.

The Counsel said that the ASI, in its reply, has not stated how they took possession of this property.

Sharma said that while he has told everything else in his answer, they wanted to protect the right on that property.

The Apex Court asked him why he did not approach the Supreme Court instead of going to the President? It further asked the petitioner, did he ever try to become a party in the petitions related to the matter pending in the Supreme Court.

Amita Sachdeva, representing the ASI, referred to the decision taken on a petition filed by a woman, who claimed the title of Red Fort. The woman had claimed that she belonged to the family of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Her plea was dismissed by the High Court.

The lawyer further said that Kunwar Mahendra Singh was not even asking for the owner’s rights. Therefore, his petition should be dismissed with a heavy fine, he added.

As per the ASI, the petitioner has not presented any argument in the court to substantiate his claim.

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