Lucknow: Allahabad High Court has directed the removal of a 58 year old mosque called ‘Waqf Masjid High Court’ from its premises within three months for encroachment and asked the state government to delete the words “high court” from the name in all documents.
The court directed its registrar-general to ensure that in future, no part of its premises, “either at Allahabad or at Lucknow, is permitted to be used for practicing religion or offering prayers or to worship or to carry on any religious activity”.
It has asked the state government to forcibly repossess the 8,019.57sqm plot if the mosque management fails to comply within the deadline, while also asking it to consider any plea for an alternative site sympathetically if made within four weeks.
The bench of Chief Justice Dilip B. Bhosale and Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta passed the order on Wednesday on a writ petition from advocate Abhishek Shukla that was opposed by the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, with which the mosque is registered.
The bench said the land was needed for the completion of the high court’s new administrative building. It added that the nine-floor building was almost ready but couldn’t be used because the fire brigade had refused a no-objection certificate citing the encroachment.
During the hearings, the mosque management committee said a private mosque had been erected on the plot in 1959 and later opened to the public in 1981. It said that Muslim judges, lawyers, court officials and other court staff prayed at the mosque along with visiting litigants and members of the public.