A plea against a suspension on prayers at the Mughal Mosque inside the Qutub Minar Complex in Delhi was denied an urgent hearing by the Delhi High Court on Monday.
The appeal was dismissed by a vacation bench of Justices Manoj Kumar Ohri and Poonam A Bamba, who stated that there was no need to hear the case.
The petitioner’s lawyer, M Sufian Siddiqui, told the court that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had partially halted prayers on May 6 when only five individuals were permitted into the mosque. Following that, on May 13, the authorities halted all prayers.
“Although there is no order, people have been prevented from offering prayers based on verbal orders. This is a violation of one’s basic rights. The rule of law must be safeguarded and maintained ” Siddiqui remarked.
It should be noted that the same plea was heard by Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Vipin Sanghi’s bench on Friday. A lawyer representing the management committee of the mosque, which is said to be a notified Waqf property, was denied a mention by the division bench led by acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi.
The Mughal Mosque stands situated in front of the Mughal Garden at the Qutub complex’s entrance. The mosque is not to be confused with the contested Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in the Qutub Minar Enclosure.
Several Hindu organisations have demanded the right to pray at the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, claiming that it contains statues of Hindu deities and was constructed after the destruction of Hindu and Jain temples.
The Qutub Minar, a tower with carvings and ornamentation that measures 72.5 metres tall and is arguably one of Delhi’s most visited landmarks, was begun in 1199 by Qutubuddin Aibak and completed by his successor Shamsuddin Iltutmish.
The Qutub Minar debate erupted after ASI’s ex-regional director Dharamveer Sharma stated that the Qutub Minar was built by Hindu prince Raja Vikramaditya, not Qutub al-Din-Aibak, to study the sun’s orientation. It was also alleged that Hindu deity idols were discovered in the compound, and that the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was constructed using materials obtained from the demolition of 27 Hindu-Jain temples.