Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court order to appoint commission to inspect Shahi Idgah mosque premises in Mathura

The Supreme Court Bench said the Allahabad High Court order was passed on an ‘omnibus, vague’ application for inspection of the premises of the Shahi Idgah mosque at Mathura.

January 16, 2024 11:30 am | Updated January 17, 2024 01:27 am IST

The Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi and Shahi Idgah mosque, in Mathura on January 15, 2024.

The Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi and Shahi Idgah mosque, in Mathura on January 15, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stopped the execution of an Allahabad High Court decision to appoint a commission to inspect the premises of the Shahi Idgah mosque at Mathura, which the Hindus claim to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said the High Court order was passed on an “omnibus, vague” application for inspection of the mosque premises.

“You have to be very clear, very specific why you need the appointment of a commission under Order 26 Rule 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC)… Your prayer was vague… You cannot make an omnibus application for a Commission,” Justice Khanna addressed senior advocate Shyam Divan, who represented the Hindu plaintiffs.

What is the Places of Worship Act?

The court ordered against the setting up of the Commission. “The Commission will not be executed,” Justice Khanna, dictated the order of the Bench.

However, the Supreme Court did not interfere with the pending proceedings under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC on the maintenance of the suit filed by the Hindu plaintiffs for a declaration that a temple once stood at the place of the mosque and the consecration of the premises as Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the mosque committee against the High Court order in December last year for appointment of the Commission.

Advocate Tasneem Ahmadi, for the mosque management, argued that the High Court ought not to have given an interim relief by appointing the Commission when the very maintenance of the suit was still undecided and pending.

Ms. Ahmadi referred to the Supreme Court’s observation in its judgment in the case, Asma Lateef versus Shabbir Ahmad, that “where interim relief is claimed in a suit before a civil court and the party to be affected by grant of such relief, or any other party to the suit, raises a point of maintainability thereof or that it is barred by law and also contends on that basis that interim relief should not to be granted, grant of relief in whatever form, if at all, ought to be preceded by formation and recording of at least a prima facie satisfaction that the suit is maintainable or that it is not barred by law.”

Justice Khanna acknowledged that “some legal issues l, including the question in light of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Asma Lateef case, arise for consideration”.

The court listed the case for further hearing on January 23.

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