ASI told to ascertain the character of the ruins

The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to cordon off the site in the Walled City of Delhi where ruins of the Akbarabadi Masjid are believed to have been found recently during digging for a station by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and hand it over to the Archaeological Survey of India to ascertain the character of the ruins.

A Full Bench of the Court comprising Chief Justice A. K. Sikri, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher passed the direction on mentioning of the matter by advocate Aman Lekhi that construction activity was going on near the site.

While directing the municipal body to barricade the site, the Bench directed the Delhi Police to provide required police forces to the civic agency to do the fencing.

The Bench also put a stop to the on-going construction saying that there shall not be any further construction around the site.

The municipal body had on Thursday refused to grant permission for any religious activity at the site.

The Bench also directed the Delhi Government to convene a meeting of the officials of the ASI, the Delhi Urban Art Commission and the municipal body to resolve the controversy expeditiously.

The Bench directed the municipal corporation to file a status report about the Jama Masjid redevelopment plan and posted the matter for further hearing on July 25.

Mr. Lekhi mentioned the matter before lunch before a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher. In reply, counsel for the Delhi Police submitted that the city police were ready to provide the force to the municipal body to take possession of the site.

Thereupon the Bench asked the municipal body to barricade the site and take it into its possession and file a report at 2 p.m. When the Court reassembled after the lunch, the Delhi Police counsel told the Full Bench which was hearing some other matter to take the opinion of the ASI on the matter before passing any order as it was a sensitive matter.

Thereafter the Bench directed the ASI look into the matter.

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