The Delhi High Court has sought a reply from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) over the alleged illegal construction inside the 350-year-old Fatehpuri Masjid here.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan asked ASI last week to submit its reply by Oct 7.

The court asked ASI whether or not the sprawling mosque, built by the wife of Mughal king Shahjahan, was a protected monument.

The mosque, built in 1650, stands at the edge of Chandni Chowk, facing the Red Fort, another imposing 17th century monument, in Old Delhi.

The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by residents who complained that unauthorised construction was going on in the area.

The petitioner, the Farash Khana Residents Welfare Association, pleaded that the illegal structure be demolished.

“It is unfortunate that the Wakf Board, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, police and ASI are sleeping over such a delicate issue,” counsel for the petitioner contented before the bench.

More In: Delhi