The Mathura District Court ruled on Thursday that the suit filed in 2020 to remove the Mathura Shahi Idgah Masjid, which was allegedly built on Shrikrishna Janam Bhoomi Trust’s land, is maintainable. By virtue of section 4 (3) (b) of the Act, the Court held that the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 do not apply to the instant suit.
Nothing in sub-section (1) and (2) of Section 4 shall apply to any suit, appeal, or another proceeding, with respect to any matter referred to in sub-section (2), finally decided, settled, or disposed of by a court, tribunal, or other authority before the commencement of this Act, according to the Court.
The respondent parties claimed that the suit could not be maintained because of Section 4 of the 1991 Act, which states that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August 1947, shall continue to be the same as it was on that day and that no suit, appeal, or other proceedings with respect to any such matter shall lie on or after such commencement in any court, tribunal, or other authority.
Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajman, Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajman, at Katra Keshav Dev, through next friend Ranjana Agnihotri, and 5 devotees filed a revision petition against the Civil Court’s order.
On September 30, 2020, the lower court dismissed the suit seeking the mosque’s removal, claiming that it is built on deity land and that the actual birthplace of Lord Krishna is beneath the mosque. The plaintiffs, as devotees/worshippers of Lord Krishna, were denied the right to file the lawsuit by the lower court.
The plaintiffs then filed a revision plea, claiming that they filed the suit for the welfare and benefit of the deity and all devotees and that they have the right to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to religion by having darshan and performing puja at Lord Krishna’s actual birthplace.
They claimed that the deity had filed the suit through a next friend and that the deity has the right to be represented by a next friend if the Manager, shebait, or persons in charge of affairs are negligent in their duties or if their actions are hostile to the deity’s and devotees’ interests.
The plaintiffs (revisionists) claimed that the U.P. Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Committee of Management, Trust Alleged Shahi Masjid Idgah encroached on the minor deity’s land through a fraudulent and collusive decree issued in Civil Suit No. 43 of 1967, in which the ‘Shri Krishna Janamasthan Sewasangh and Trust Masjid Idgah reached an illegal compromise.
Revisionists argued that the society gave up valuable Deity/Trust property in favour of Trust Masjid Idgah, despite the fact that it was not the owner and the property had already vested in Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi Trust, and that it had no right to file the suit or enter into a compromise over the Trust’s land.
Revisionists claimed that on February 8, 1944, Seth Jugal Kishore Birla purchased 13.37 acres in Katra Keshav Dev from the legal heirs of Raja Patnimal through a registered sale deed in the names of Mahamana Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya, Goswami Ganesh Dutt, and Professor Bhikanlal Attrey, and on February 21, 1951, he established the Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi Trust.
Plaintiffs claimed that on May 1, 1958, a society called Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan overpowered the said Trust and conceded valuable property of the Deity/Trust to Trust Masjid Idgah.
The revisionists/plaintiff are seeking a declaration that the entire 13.37-acre land belongs to Lord Shrikrishna Virajman and that their encroachment on it should be removed.
The plaintiffs’ argument that they, as devotees of the minor deity, can file suit for the restoration and re-establishment of the deity’s religious rights was also accepted by the District Court.
The court directed both the parties to appear before the Trial Court on May 26.