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Delhi Court issues notice to Archaeological Survey on appeal to restore temples in Qutub Minar complex

Additional District Judge Pooja Talwar on Tuesday admitted the appeal and issued notice to all respondents. The matter is deferred to May 11 for the next hearing.

ANI | New Delhi |

A Delhi Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Union of India, Archaeological Survey of India, and others on an appeal moved against the order of a Civil Judge which rejected a civil suit and sought the restoration of 27 temples in the Qutub Minar complex in Mehrauli.

Additional District Judge Pooja Talwar on Tuesday admitted the appeal and issued notice to all respondents. The matter is deferred to May 11 for the next hearing.

The appeal has been filed by Jain deity Tirthankara Lord Rishabh Dev, Lord Vishnu (Principal Deity, Temple Complex), and others through Advocates Hari Shankar Jain, Ranjana Agnihotri, and Jitender Singh Vishen. Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain and Amita Sachdeva appeared for the appellant before the additional district judge.

Civil Judge Neha Sharma on November 29 last year, while rejecting the suit had said, “Nobody has denied that wrongs were committed in the past but such wrongs cannot be the basis for disturbing the peace of our present and future.”
She also said, “There is a presumption of correctness in every official act.”

“A notification dated January 16, 1914, has not been challenged till date. Even plaintiffs have not challenged the validity of the said notification. Consequently, it stands valid. Hence, as per the provisions of the act, the ownership lies with the Government and the plaintiffs have no right to claim restoration and right to religious worship in the same without challenging the notification itself,” she added.

“The suit was filed to preserve and protect the religious and cultural heritage of India and to exercise the right to religion guaranteed by Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India by restoring 27 Hindu and Jain temples with respective deities which were dismantled, desecrated, and damaged under the command and orders of Qutub-Din-Aibak, a commander of invader Mohammad Ghori, who established slave dynasty and raised some construction at the same very place of temples naming it as, Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque,” the suit said.

It claimed that according to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) 27 Hindu and Jain temples were demolished and Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque was raised inside the complex reusing the materials and sought to “restore” the demolished temples.

The suit sought to declare that Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, Lord Sun, Goddess Gauri, Lord Hanuman, Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishab Dev have the right to be “restored” within the temple complex at the site of Quwwatul Mosque Complex, Mehrauli, south-west Delhi “after rebuilding it with the same honour and dignity”.

It also sought to issue an injunction directing the Central government to create a trust, according to the Trust Act 1882, and hand over the management and administration of the temple complex situated within the area of Qutub Complex in Mehrauli after framing a scheme of the administration to such trust.

“Pass a decree in the nature of a permanent injunction, restraining the defendants permanently from interfering in making necessary repair works, raising construction and making arrangement for the pooja, darshan, and worship of deities in accordance with Sections 16 and 19 of ‘The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958’ by a trust, to be created by the Central government within the area,” the suit said.