The Gareeb Nawaz Mosque was situated in the Barbanki district of Uttar Pradesh, popularly known as the Ram Sanehi Ghat. The building had been demolished by the district administrative bodies claiming that it was an illegal construction. The Uttar Pradesh Central Sunni Waqf Board and the All-India-Muslim Personal Law Board have moved writ petitions in the Allahabad High Court claiming restoration and reconstruction of the mosque. Advocate Syed Aftab Ahmed is representing the Sunni Waqf Board while the AIMPLB is being represented by Advocate Saud Rais.
In the instant petition the petitioners have claimed that the demolition process by the local district administration has been done in an extremely rushed and crass manner without following the statutory guidelines laid down in section 133(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as “Cr. P.C, 1973”).
At the outset, the Hon’ble High Court had earlier issued an order in which the government, municipal and local authorities were asked to be slow and careful in the process of demolition. They were instructed to give adequate time to the inmates of the mosque to leave the place before the demolition began. The process was to be on stay till the 31st of May. Allegedly, the authorities did not abide by the order. The petitioners believe that the mosque had been demolished out of animosity and malice and that a new structure is being constructed in its place which will cause enormous loss to the community. It has been alleged that the mosque was not at all a nuisance or illegal construction. Moreover, the demolition was illegal as it had been done without taking the Central Sunni Waqf Board into confidence which is a legitimate step according to section 90(1) of the Waqf Act. The Sub-divisional Magistrate has also been questioned regarding the conduct of his duties in this matter.
The petitioners have pleaded that the Hon’ble court orders the cancellation of the order of demolition that had been earlier passed by the District Magistrate and to give orders to reconstruct the mosque under the name of Masjid Gareeb Nawaz Al Maroof Tehsil Wali. There has also been a claim for compensation in the petition. The petition has also requested that the state government be directed to take disciplinary action against Divyanshu Patel, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
Last week, the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court was hearing a petition against the committee members of the mosque who had been accused of forging the documents of the mosque. Hon’ble Justice Attoo Rehman Masoodi and Hon’ble Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava had stayed the arrest of the accused until a report under section 173(2) Cr. P.C, 1973 is filed against them. However, according to the recent petition before the bench, the issue of forging the documents had not been mentioned or highlighted under sections 419, 420, 467, 468, and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Hon’ble High Court has already issued an order stating that all the activities of demolition will be stalled until the validity of the registration documents is proven. At the same time, inquiry regarding the functioning of the Magistrate will be carried on.