Delhi HC gives Centre time to reply to Waqf Board’s plea seeking preservation of its properties
New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted the Centre time to file a reply on a plea by the Delhi Waqf Board, seeking preservation and protection of its heritage properties potentially to be impacted by the Central Vista Redevelopment Project.
Justice Prateek Jalan noted that there has been no statement on record from the Centre to date, and the petition was filed in 2021.
As counsel for the Centre informed the court that nothing was happening concerning the properties and sought time to obtain further instructions, Justice Jalan pointed out the lack of concrete information about whether any developments have occurred or are expected.
He stated that the petition could be dismissed if the Centre made a statement indicating that the case is based solely on apprehension.
The court scheduled the next hearing for December 8 and asked the petitioner’s counsel to seek instructions regarding the status of the waqf properties.
The petition seeks the preservation and protection of six of its properties in the area where the redevelopment work is taking place. These properties include the Masjid Zabta Ganj on Mansingh Road, the Jama Masjid on Red Cross Road, the Masjid Sunehri Bagh near Udyog Bhawan, the Mazar Sunehri Bagh Road behind Motilal Nehru Marg, the mosque inside the Krishi Bhawan compound, and the one at the official residence of the Vice President.
The petition highlights that these properties are over a century old and have consistently been used for religious purposes. It argues that neither the British nor the Indian government has hindered religious practices at these properties in the past.
In December 2021, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the high court that there had been no developments affecting Delhi Waqf Board properties in the vicinity. He explained that the redevelopment project was a “long plan” and had not yet reached the properties in question.