Courts Update Central Vista: Waqf Board moves Delhi HC to preserve...

Central Vista: Waqf Board moves Delhi HC to preserve waqf properties in the Redevelopment area, SG Mehta seeks week’s time

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New Delhi Sept 21(ILNS): The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta today assured the Delhi High Court that he would seek instructions from the Centre within a week, in a petition filed by Delhi Waqf Board, seeking directions to preserve the original shape, form, and use of all the waqf properties situated in or around the Central Vista Redevelopment Project or another project (s) allied to it, along with the easements attached to those properties.

The petition was listed before a single-judge Bench comprised of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva.

Arguments Advanced

SG Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre sought for a weeks-time to seek instruction, from the center regarding the grievance of the petitioner.

Upon this statement by SG Mehta, Senior Advocate Sanjoy Ghose appearing for the Delhi Waqf Board, sought assurance from the SG, that till the next date status quo be maintained.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva interjected at this point asking: “Why should he give that assurance?” and stated that would be an effective stay order.

Senior Advocate Ghose clarified that he was only seeking assurance with regards to the waqf properties and not relating to the Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

Justice Sachdeva replied by stating, the Central Vista Redevelopment Project is continuing in a particular fashion, there is a plan in place and there are timelines for completion, furthering his point Justice Sachdeva stated, the Centre must have deliberated on the issue of these old structures and it is not something that has suddenly cropped up.

Background

According to the petition, the subject matter in the plea is Waqf Properties, which are old and important places of worship and are likely to be impacted by the ongoing Central Vista Redevelopment Project, namely:1. Masjid, Zabta Ganj.2. Jama Masjid, New Delhi.3. Masjid, Sunehri Bagh road4. Mazar, Sunehri Bagh road5. Masjid, Krishi Bhawan.6. Masjid, Vice-President House.

The Petition claims that the Delhi Waqf Board is not in any manner seeking any order or direction against the respondent in respect of continuation of the Central Vista Project and does not in any manner seek to delay or obstruct the same. 

The petition further claims that it is instituted with a limited objective to ensure that the religious/waqf properties, which are also of historical importance, are preserved and protected in the Redevelopment process. 

The petition further clarifies that Delhi Waqf Board was constrained to file the petition only on account of the fact that several representations made by the board, seeking clarification and assurances from the Centre have gone unheard and without any response.

The Court has listed this matter for further hearing next week./ILNS/SR/KR/SNG

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