Krishna Janmabhoomi: Mathura ADJ Directs Lower Court to Hear Plea for Appointment of Court Commissioner for Survey of Mosque
On May 26, even as a new application was moved before the court of the Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mathura demanding the removal of the loudspeaker of the Shahi Idgah mosque that is located next to the Katra Keshav Dev temple, another related appeal was being heard by the Additional District Judge pertaining to appointment of a Court Commissioner for survey of the Shahi Idgah.
The court of the Additional Judge has now directed the lower court to dispose of the petition after conducting day-to-day hearings starting from the date when the case will be heard next. Readers would recall that the lower court had adjourned hearings till July 1, i.e after summer vacations.
The court was responding to a revision application that was filed by the petitioners after the court of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) Jyoti Singh had on May 23, had asked the mosque management committee and other parties to file their objections to the plea seeking a survey of the mosque and fixed July 1 as the next date of hearing.
In fresh developments in the lower court on Thursday, petitioners submitted what they claimed was evidence of the entire 13.7 acres land, upon which the temple and mosque stand, belonged to the deity and could not be handed over to mosque authorities. The court admitted the plea and ordered the other party to file a response on the next date of hearing, adjourning the matter till July 1.
Meanwhile, there has been a deluge of petitions and applications that have been filed by different parties.
The original petition
The original civil suit filed in September 2020, the petitioners i.e the deity Baghwan Sri Krishna Virajman through next friend Ranjana Agnihotri, Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi (birthplace of the deity) and devotees, have claimed, “This suit is being filed for removal of encroachment and superstructure illegally raised by Committee of Management of alleged Trust Masjid Idgah with the consent of Sunni Central Board of Waqf on land Khewat No.255 (Two Hundred Fifty Five) at Katra Keshav Dev city Mathura belonging to deity Shree Krishna Virajman.”
Explaining the rationale behind the suit, the plaintiffs have stated, “The present suit is being filed by and on behalf of deity Plaintiff Nos.1 (One) and 2 (Two) alongwith devotees to ensure that Dharshan, Pooja, rituals according to Vedic Sanatan Dharma, faith, belief, usages, traditions and customs guaranteed under Article 25 (Twenty Five) of the Constitution of India are performed at the actual birth place and at any part of 13.37 (Thirteen Point Thirty Seven) Acers land of Katra Keshav Dev the Sunni Waqf Board, Trust Masjid Idgah and their men, workers, attorneys and every person working under them are restrained from entering into the premises of the property in question and they be directed to remove the construction illegally raised by them without authority of law at the property in question.”
The primary contention was that the Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh that looked after the Katra Keshav Dev temple property had allegedly entered into an illegal compromise with the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah in 1968 by way of which a huge chunk of land was given to the Idgah including the spot where the deity was born. The plaintiffs had submitted, “The original karagar i.e birthplace of Lord Krishna lies beneath the construction raised by Committee of Management i.e Trust Masjid Idgah.” It insisted that the truth would be revealed if an excavation were to be conducted.
On September 30, 2020, a civil court in Mathura dismissed the petition to remove the Shahi Idgah adjacent to a Krishna temple in the city. Civil Judge (Senior Division) Chhaya Sharma refused to entertain the plea citing section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. Section 4 (1) of this Act says, “It is hereby declared 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 existed on that day.”
However, the plaintiffs moved the district court against this on October 12 citing Article 25 of the Constitution that deals with “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion” and says, “Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.”
The Appellants submitted, “It is the right and duty of worshipers to make every endeavour to bring back the lost property of the deity and to take every step for the safety and proper management of the temple and the deity’s property.”
The Petitioners have sought ownership of the entire property spread across 13.37 acres, and cancellation of the agreement that led to the transfer of land in 1968.
Meanwhile, the Sunni Waqf Board and the Shahi Idgah committee argued that the petitioner was neither an office bearer of the Temple trust, nor a descendent of the Krishna Janmasthan.
On May 7, after hearing both parties, the court of Mathura District and Sessions Judge Rajeev Bharati had reserved its order. On May 19, the court delivered its order to restore the petition.
Other applications and related petitions
On May 13, a petitioner named Manish Yadav moved the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Mathura demanding that an Advocate Commissioner be appointed to carry out an inspection of the Shahi Idgah. He claims to be a descendant of Lord Krishna, and had previously demanded that the mosque be shifted. He had moved Allahabad High Court citing delay in hearing of his plea by the lower court. Yadav also submitted a copy of the Allahabad High Court order dated May 12 that directed the lower court to decide within four months the matter pertaining to the injunction application as well as bunching together the trial in all pending cases related to the dispute.
On May 17, just hours after the lawyer of the Hindu petitioners in the Gyanvapi dispute in Varanasi claimed a “Shivling” had been discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank of the mosque), and the court of Varanasi Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered the area to be sealed, two advocates moved a Mathura court seeking similar directions to seal the Shahi Idgah mosque. The petitioners, advocates Mahendra Pratap Singh and Rajendra Maheshwari, in their application before the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mathura, claim that this is necessary to ensure that the religious character of the place remains unchanged.
They have also asked that the deployment of security personnel at the mosque be stepped up to prevent any movement. The applicants have sought directions to the District Magistrate as well as the Superintendent of Police, along with the CRPF Commandment, to seal the premises and preserve the Hindu religious symbols such as Swastika, lotus flower, Kalash etc.
Meanwhile, another application was filed before the court of Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Chaudhary, by next friends of the deity and devotees, appealing for permission to be granted to Hindus to conduct “darshan, pooja and other rituals” at the mosque site in accordance with Vedic Sanatan Dharma.
Then, Dinesh Kaushik, the National Treasurer of the All India Hindu Mahasabha, filed an application before the court of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) Mathura seeking permission to consecrate an idol of deity Laddo Gopal inside the Shahi Idgah mosque and perform traditional Hindu prayers there.
Then on May 23, the same Dinesh Kaushik filed another application seeking permission to perform “purification rituals” at the sanctum sanctorum of the Katra Keshav Dev temple using water from the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. He claimed such purification was essential as the existence of the Idgah was hurting his religious sentiments.
Also on May 23, a petition was moved by petitioners Mahendra Pratap Singh and Rajendra Maheshwari as next friends of the deity, before the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Jyoti Singh demanding an Advocate Commissioner be sent to the Shahi Idgah, claiming Hindu symbols were present at the site. But the judge asked the mosque authorities to file their objections and set July 1 as the next date of hearing. Aggrieved by this the petitioners moved the court of the Additional District Judge.
Then on May 26 Kaushik again moved an application demanding the removal of the loudspeaker. He claimed that the use of the loudspeaker for Azaan was infringing upon his rights as a Sanatani Hindu.
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