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SC dismisses plea for removal of Shahi Idgah Mosque in Mathura

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking removal of Mathura’s Shahi Idgah Mosque.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta refused to entertain the appeal filed against an order of the Allahabad High Court which had dismissed the PIL. “It would not be right for us to interfere. Sorry. Not a matter for PIL”, the Supreme Court said, saying it’s a dispute on questions of fact. The court clarified that the petition will not come in the way of any future application.

The Allahabad High Court had in October 2023 rejected the PIL filed by advocate Mahek Maheshwari seeking to recognise Mathura’s Shahi Idgah Mosque as the site of Krishna Janambhoomi (Birthplace of Lord Krishna)

The petitioner cited various historical texts and said, “It is a documented fact that the site is Krishna Janambhoomi and its historical roots could be traced back to the Ramayana era”. The petitioner argued that since Islam has arrived much later than the Ramayana period, the structure cannot be treated as a mosque.

The petitioner urged the court to transfer the land where Shahi Idgah Mosque is situated to the Hindu community. A legitimate trust could be established for the Krishna Janambhoomi Janamsthan which would construct the temple, the petitioner had suggested.

The petitioner said the Shahi Idgah does not qualify for the status of a legitimate mosque under Islamic jurisprudence since a mosque cannot be constructed on land acquired through force. On the other hand, according to Hindu jurisprudence, a temple retains its sacred status even if it lies in ruins, the petitioner said.

The plea also asked for a court-monitored excavation using GPRS technology by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the disputed site to ascertain whether the Mosque was constructed over Krishna Janmasthan.

The High Court had dismissed the case after noting that the reliefs sought were already pending consideration before the High Court in related suits. This led to the appeal before the apex court.

A civil suit is already pending before a trial court seeking similar reliefs.

All three courts, the trial court in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court, and the Supreme Court had rejected the Hindu Trust’s plea for a scientific survey of the disputed site.

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